The US Sanctions on the Iranian Ministry of Petroleum
On October 26, 2020, the US imposed sanctions on several Iranian individuals and entities involved in Iran’s petroleum industry. The US Treasury Department announced in a statement that the Iranian Ministry of Petroleum, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), and the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) have been sanctioned pursuant to E.O. 13224, for financial supporting to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF). The Executive Order No. 13224 was signed on September 23, 2001, by the then-President George W. Bush, authorizing the US executive branch to impose sanctions on individuals and entities allegedly involved in financing terrorism.
Earlier this month, the US Treasury Department added 18 Iranian banks and financial institutions to the SDN list. However, the new US sanctions against Iran’s oil industry have been imposed on the pretext of facilitating the actions of IRGC forces in the region, especially in Syria. The Iranian IRGC is included in the list of US terrorist organizations. Also, the involvement of a number of sanctioned individuals in the export of Iranian oil to Venezuela has been announced as another reason for the imposition of new sanctions against these entities.
Among those sanctioned are the Iranian Petroleum Minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh and several CEOs of the country’s national oil and gas and petrochemical companies. Reacting to the sanctions, Bijan Zanganeh wrote on Twitter that “Imposition of sanctions on me and my colleagues is a passive reaction to the failure of Washington’s policy of reducing [Iran’s] crude oil exports to zero. The era of unilateralism is over in the world. Iran’s oil industry will not be hamstrung. I have no assets outside of Iran to be subject to the sanctions. I would sacrifice my life, belongings and reputation for Iran.”
Prior to the new sanctions, on October 24, 2020, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump administration intends to impose sanctions against Iran, which will be difficult to reverse in the future by new administration. According to the report, the Trump administration was intending to target sectors that appear to be involved in “financing Iran’s terrorist activities,” such as the petrochemical and metal industries. In this regard, since support for terrorism has been announced the main reason for these sanctions, therefore, in addition to economic consequences, new imposed sanctions will have political outcomes for Iran too. In other words, if other countries accompany America in imposing sanctions on these individuals who are added in the sanction list, these sanctions could pose serious obstacles to foreign travel, participation in international conferences, and the signing of international agreements of the individuals who are on the list of sanctions. As a result, it can be comprehended that the political consequences of the latest sanctions against Iran will be more serious than its economic consequences.
|Entities included in the new US sanctions on October 26, 2020|
|Entities/Individuals||Citizenship / Based in / Under the flag||Reason for the sanctions (related to)|
|Bijan Zangeneh||Iran||Ministry of Petroleum of Iran|
|Mahmoud Madanipour||Iran||Mobin International|
|Behzad Mohammadi||Iran||National Petrochemical Company (NPC)|
|Ali Akbar Pourebrahim||Iran||Rostam Ghasemi, a senior IRGC-QF official and former Minister of Petroleum who was designated in 2019.|
|Atlantic Ship Management Company||UAE||NITC|
|Atlas Ship Management||UAE||NITC|
|Imam Khomeini Shazand Oil Refining Company||Iran||Ministry of Petroleum of Iran|
|Iranian Oil Pipelines and Telecommunications Company||Iran||Ministry of Petroleum of Iran|
|Mobin Holding||United Kingdom||Mahmoud Madanipour|
|National Iranian Oil Engineering and Construction Company||Iran||Ministry of Petroleum of Iran|
|National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company (NIOPDC)||Iran||Ministry of Petroleum of Iran|
|National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC)||Iran||Ministry of Petroleum of Iran|
|Oman Fuel Trading||United Kingdom||Mahmoud Madanipour|
|Ministry of Petroleum of Iran||Iran||IRGC-QF|
|Longbow Lake (Oil tanker)||Under the flag of Honduras||NIOC|
|Wu Xian (Oil tanker)||Under the flag of Panama||NIOC|
|Source: The US Treasury Department|