The U.S. State Department on Thursday slapped sanctions on three overseas based energy companies for dealing with Iran, including China’s state-run Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp which it said was the largest supplier of refined petroleum products to Iran.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also imposed sanctions on Singapore’s Kuo Oil Pte Ltd and FAL Oil Company Ltd, an independent energy trader based in the United Arab Emirates, the State Department said in a notice.
“Under the sanctions imposed today, all three companies are barred from receiving U.S. export licenses, U.S. Export Import Bank financing, and loans over $10 million from U.S. financial institutions,” the State Department said.
“These sanctions apply only to the sanctioned companies, and not to their governments or countries.”
The move marked a tough new step to enforce U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear program and are aimed at squeezing Tehran’s government finances and oil sector.
The State Department said the United States had determined that Zhuhai Zhenrong - one of four dominant Chinese state oil traders -- brokered the delivery of over $500 million in gasoline to Iran between July 2010 and January 2011.
It said Kuo Oil, a Singapore-based energy trader, had provided over $25 million in refined petroleum to Iran between late 2010 and early 2011 while FAL provided over $70 million in refined petroleum to Iran over multiple shipments in late 2010.
In all cases, individual deliveries were worth significantly more than the $1 million threshold under U.S. law and the total value of the transactions was well above the $5 million threshold for sanctionable activities within a 12-month period, the State Department said.
Clinton imposed the sanctions in line with the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Disability Act, which bars certain financial transactions and prohibits the provision of refined petroleum products to Iran.
“The result of these actions has been an unprecedented international sanctions effort aimed at convincing Iran to change its behavior,” the State Department statement said.
“The sanctions announced today are an important step toward that goal, as they target the individual companies that help Iran evade these efforts.”