US Targets Iran's Metals and Shipping Industries with New Sanctions

Shipping industry in latest US sanctions of Iran
(file photo)

Published Jan 6, 2021 5:37 PM by The Maritime Executive

The US Government is continuing its actions aimed at pressuring the Iranian government by continuing to increase sanctions against key parts of the country’s economy. The latest round of sanctions announced jointly by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the U.S. Department of State was aimed at Iran’s metals industry. 

Saying that the Iranian regime uses revenue from its metals sector to fund destabilizing activities around the world, the U.S. government imposed sanctions on 17 companies. The wide-reaching effort included not only Iranian companies, but also one Chinese company as well as ones headquartered in Germany and the U.K. While the effort mostly targeted the metals companies the shipping industry was also included in its participation in the trade.

Iran-based Hafez Darya Arya Shipping Company (HDASCO), a subsidiary of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), was included in the action for knowingly sell, supplying, or transferring, directly or indirectly, graphite to or from Iran. The U.S. says that the graphite was sold, supplied, or transferred to or from an Iranian person, South Kaveh Steel Company and Arfa Iron and Steel Company, which is included on the Department of Treasury’s Specially Designated Nationals List. The State Department also imposed sanctions on Majid Sajdeh, who is a principal executive officer of HDASCO.

The China-based Kaifeng Pingmei New Carbon Materials Technology Co., LTD (KFCC) was also cited under the same action. The US reports that the organization also participated in the trade of graphite with Iran. Additionally, Germany-based GMI Projects Hamburg GmbH, UK-based GMI Projects Ltd., and China-based World Mining Industry Co., Ltd. were also designated for being owned or controlled by Middle East Mines and Mineral Industries Development Holding Company, which is part of the main group of sanctioned companies.

The bulk of the companies, 16 in total, were designated for their activity in Iran’s metal industry. All of the companies were said to be operating in the steel sector of Iran, or for owning or controlling companies that operate in the steel sector of Iran.

In announcing the latest actions, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said the United States will continue to aggressively implement sanctions with respect to the Iranian regime, those who evade sanctions, and others who enable the regime to fund and carry out its malign agenda of repression and terror.

During its term, the Trump administration increasingly sought to target Iran with sanctions. Among the companies included in the prior sanctions were Iran’s two shipping companies, the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) and IRISL, which was also included in these latest actions.