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The US imposes new sanctions on Chinese companies for the transportation of Iranian crude oil



ORLANDO – The US imposes new sanctions on a Chinese company for the transportation of Iranian crude oil, exacerbating US pressure on the Islamic Republic in weeks of escalating tensions As Beijing and Washington seek ways to resume trade talks and move forward Speaking to Chinese technology companies, notably telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co., a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington said Monday that Beijing rejects such unilateral sanctions. "We urge the US to immediately correct its misconduct and to respect seriously the legal rights and interests of other parties," the spokesman said.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the Wall Street Journal on Monday that Chinese company Zhuhai Zhenrong and one of his company executives, Youmin Li, knowingly violated the US sanctions that prohibited the import of Iranian crude oil.

China was one of eight countries originally granted a waiver on the temporary purchase and consumption of Iranian oil. These exemptions expired on May 2 and were not renewed by the US.

Zhuhai Zhenrong is one of four Chinese companies authorized by the state to import oil. It is administered by the State Surveillance and Administration Commission of the State Council in Beijing According to the company's website. The company did not respond to requests for comments.

The state-owned company had previously been sanctioned by the Obama administration for the purchase of crude oil from Iran, but was dropped from the list as part of the nuclear deal with Iran.

The Trump government again began imposing sanctions on Iran's oil exports last November, but gave China, the largest buyer of Iranian crude oil, a six-month waiver of alternative crude oil deliveries.

The finance department officially blacklisted the company and its senior officials late on Monday. Under the sanctions, the Chinese company and the executive are not permitted to conduct any foreign exchange, banking or property transactions under US jurisdiction.

The company does not do business in the US, but sanctions could complicate its insurance capability shipments and financial operations by Western countries. However, China has its own financial resources and can take out insurance, which means that sanctions create more diplomatic tensions than economic damage. The company continued to buy petroleum products from Iran the last time it was sanctioned, the Journal reported.

The sanctions send "an important message to the world," said the secretary. "We can see how these crude oil deliveries move."

Tensions have been tightening recently as the two countries have experienced military threats and Iran has enriched uranium beyond what is allowed by the 201

5 International Nuclear Accord. The US has accused Iran of attacking or harassing at least six merchant ships and shooting down a US surveillance drone in international airspace. Iran has also banned foreign-flagged tankers that the US and its allies claim are in international waters.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard has released footage showing some of its forces aboard the British tanker Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz. Photo: Iranian Revolutionary Guard

Considering that the exemption from oil imports had expired at the beginning of May, Pompeo said that the challenges to Iran's ability to "fuel terror" will only increase.

Mr Pompeo said, however, that the US sanctions are taking effect.

Ninety percent of Iran's crude oil has been effectively sanctioned and taken off the market.

The resulting loss of revenue forced the regime's leadership to make difficult decisions, Pompeo added, saying Tehran needed to reduce its defense budget, and Iran-backed Hezbollah militia in Lebanon struggled to fund its operations.

The secretary also said that recent developments with Iran should not be seen in isolation, but should be considered in the context of Hezbollah's 40-year history. Iranian regime.

"Forty years. 40 years, "he said," I understand that there are events 40 hours ago, but 40 years. "Mr Pompeo said that the recent incidents can not be taken individually," you must take them together. "

Mr. Pompeo said that advances in Iran's missile program are aimed at improving the country's nuclear capabilities – and they must be considered accordingly.

Iran's allegations of confiscating US spies within its borders Pompeo said one must "think" the source. "

When American citizens are arrested by Iran, the US government is working with Switzerland, which is taking over US interests in Iran to secure its release. [19659002] The Secretary also reiterated that the US will enforce sanctions whenever and wherever it is possible.

"We encourage host countries of companies involved in this activity to end this behavior, and we will do the same with China. "

The US has informed the Chinese government, asked for and will continue to call for assistance, Pomp said eo.

Larger Chinese companies have complied with US law, the secretary said. Asked whether Zhuhai Zhenrong acted with the approval of the Chinese government, Pompeo said that only the company knew that his actions violated US sanctions.

Write to Courtney McBride at courtney.mcbride@wsj.com and Ian Talley at ian.talley @ wsj.com

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