WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action against companies used by Iran’s Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industry Commercial Co. (PGPICC), one of the nation’s largest petrochemical brokers, to facilitate the sale of tens of millions of dollars’ worth of Iranian petroleum and petrochemical products from Iran to East Asia. PGPICC is a subsidiary of Iran’s petrochemical conglomerate Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industry Co. (PGPIC), which accounts for half of all of Iran’s total petrochemical exports.
“The United States continues to pursue the path of diplomacy to achieve a mutual return to full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “Until such time as Iran is ready to return to full implementation of its commitments, we will continue to enforce sanctions on the illicit sale of Iranian petroleum and petrochemicals.”
Today’s action is being taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13846 and follows OFAC’s July 6, 2022 designation of an Iranian oil and petrochemical network selling Iranian petroleum and petrochemicals to purchasers in East Asia, and the June 16, 2022 designation of an international sanctions evasion network supporting Iranian petrochemical sales.
In a separate but related action, the Department of State is also designating two entities that have engaged in the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of Iranian petroleum and petroleum products, including providing logistical support to the Iranian petroleum trade, pursuant to E.O. 13846.
Iranian Petrochemical and Petroleum Sales to East Asia
PGPICC has used UAE-based Blue Cactus Heavy Equipment and Machinery Spare Parts Trading L.L.C. to facilitate the sale of millions of dollars’ worth of Iranian-origin petroleum products to Triliance Petrochemical Co. Ltd. (Triliance) for onward shipment to East Asia. Triliance remains one of Iran’s most important petrochemical brokers, brokering the sale of Iranian petrochemicals to foreign purchasers. Blue Cactus Heavy Equipment and Machinery Spare Parts Trading L.L.C. is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13846 for, on or after November 5, 2018, having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of, PGPICC.
PGPICC was designated pursuant to E.O. 13382, a counterproliferation authority, on July 7, 2019, for being owned or controlled by PGPIC. PGPIC was itself designated pursuant to E.O. 13382 that same day for having provided financial support to Khatam al-Anbiya, the engineering conglomerate of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
Triliance was designated pursuant to E.O. 13846 on January 23, 2020, for, on or after November 5, 2018, having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).
PGPICC, in cooperation with Treasury-sanctioned Iranian petrochemical broker Petrochemical Commercial Company (PCC), has similarly used Farwell Canyon HK Limited (Farwell Canyon) and Shekufei International Trading Co., Limited (Shekufei) to facilitate the sale of tens of millions of dollars’ worth of Iranian-origin petrochemical and petroleum products for onward shipment to buyers in East Asia. PGPICC has used Farwell Canyon and Shekufei’s bank accounts, as well as those of Hong Kong- and Malaysia-based PZNFR Trading Limited, to collect millions of dollars’ worth of proceeds from these sales.
Farwell Canyon HK Limited, Shekufei International Trading Co., Limited, and PZNFR Trading Limited are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13846 for, on or after November 5, 2018, having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of, PGPICC.
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of these targets that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within the United States (including transactions transiting the United States) that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons.
In addition, persons that engage in certain transactions with the individuals and entities designated today may themselves be exposed to sanctions or subject to an enforcement action. Furthermore, unless an exception applies, any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant transaction for any of the individuals or entities designated today could be subject to U.S. sanctions.
The power and integrity of OFAC sanctions derive not only from OFAC’s ability to designate and add persons to the SDN List, but also from its willingness to remove persons from the SDN List consistent with the law. The ultimate goal of sanctions is not to punish, but to bring about a positive change in behavior. For information concerning the process for seeking removal from an OFAC list, including the SDN List, please refer to OFAC’s Frequently Asked Question 897 here. For detailed information on the process to submit a request for removal from an OFAC sanctions list, please here.