(New York, N.Y.) – United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) Chairman Senator Joseph I. Lieberman and CEO Ambassador Mark D. Wallace released the following joint statement today after the Trump administration applied further secondary sanctions against companies engaged in the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport or marketing of Iranian petrochemicals. Petrochemicals represent the second-largest Iranian export industry after oil and the announcement represents the second time this year the U.S. has imposed sanctions on entities supporting the petrochemical sector.
“UANI applauds the Trump administration’s ongoing efforts to identify companies supporting the world’s leading state-sponsor of terror.
“The companies sanctioned have ignored the risks and incorrectly thought they could escape scrutiny. It is not too late for other businesses to fully excise subsidiaries from Iran and demand that their vendors and business partners do the same. UANI has repeatedly warned China’s Sinochem International Corp., the parent of Aoxing Ship Management, one of the newly sanctioned targets, about its vessels calling Iranian ports. Sinochem must ensure all its subsidiaries stay away from Iran business. The South African company sanctioned, SPI International, from which Johannesburg-based Sasol responsibly divested in 2013, should likewise extricate itself from Iran.
“Many international firms have partners or suppliers who have done business with Iran. Voluntarily applying the highest standard of due diligence, including Know-Your-Customer’s-Customer (KYCC), would reduce the number of companies undermining U.S. sanctions and provide greater protection from materials or money ending up in Iranian hands. Taking these necessary steps are the fastest and safest way for companies to protect themselves.
“Lastly, to date, the Iranian regime has refused the U.S. offers of assistance to help the country combat the coronavirus. This is evidence of the leadership’s prioritization of its revolutionary ideology over its people’s well-being. Any country seeking to assist the Iranian people amid a serious coronavirus outbreak should use the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement or the existing humanitarian trade exemptions under U.S. law. Unfortunately, Iran’s regime has a long history of corruption and mismanagement. Just last summer, the chief of staff to Iran’s president disclosed that $1.12 billion in hard currency that was allocated to import essential goods and medicine had “disappeared.”
UANI has previously outlined 17 areas where additional action can be taken to strengthen the maximum pressure campaign – some of which have already been acted on by the United States government, including increasing sanctions on Iran’s petrochemicals sector and designating Martyrs Foundation companies and officials – entities associated with Hezbollah’s support network – as global terrorists.
In a May 2019 op-ed, Senator Lieberman and Ambassador Wallace made the case for the Trump administration to apply sanctions to Iran’s petrochemical industry, which is dominated by the regime. In their op-ed, they stated, “To truly achieve ‘maximum pressure’ on the regime, President Trump needs to make his sanctions airtight across Iran’s economy. This means plugging the sanctions gaps on the other critical pillar of Iran’s energy export-dependent economy: petrochemicals.”
To read Next Steps in the Maximum Pressure Campaign, please click here.