The Treasury Department in a statement on Friday accused PGPIC of its financial support for the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and said that sanctions are aimed to choke off financing for Iran’s largest and most profitable petrochemical group.
Treasury also imposed sanctions on the holding group's network of 39 subsidiary petrochemical companies and what it called "foreign-based sales agents.” It warned that international companies continuing to partner with PGPIC or its subsidiaries and sales agents "will themselves be exposed to US sanctions.", Presstv Reported.
"This action is a warning that we will continue to target holding groups and companies in the petrochemical sector and elsewhere that provide financial lifelines to the IRGC," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement.
"By targeting this network we intend to deny funding to key elements of Iran’s petrochemical sector that provide support to the IRGC," he added.
Last year, the US president withdrew Washington from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was reached between Iran and six world powers in 2015. Afterwards, Washington re-imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the deal.
In April, the US said it would not renew waivers that allowed Tehran’s eight largest customers to purchase its oil in a bid to cut Iranian oil exports to zero and exert maximum pressure on Iran. The waivers expired on May 1.
The move ended six months of waivers, which allowed Iran’s eight biggest buyers -- Turkey, China, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan -- to continue importing limited volumes.
On April 8, the White House labeled Iran “a State Sponsor of Terrorism” and the IRGC a “foreign terrorist organization,” claiming that the elite force “actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft.”
In a swift response, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council designated the US government a supporter of terrorism and CENTCOM a terrorist organization.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said the targeting of the IRGC is rooted in America’s “rancor” against the force, which has been at the forefront of the fight against enemies both inside and outside of Iran.
Days later, the Iranian parliament overwhelmingly passed a law, which designates CENTCOM a terrorist organization.
The legislation was approved by 173 to 4 votes, with 11 abstentions at an open parliamentary session in Tehran on April 23.