us-sanctions 11 June 2020

US targets Iran and Venezuela as ‘generous delay’ ends

The United States has designated four companies for operating in Venezuela’s oil sector and announced that months-old sanctions against Iran’s shipping network are now in effect, after five Iranian tankers delivered critical fuel supplies to Venezuela last month in defiance of US sanctions.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced, 8 June, that sanctions imposed six months ago on the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (‘IRISL’) and its Shanghai-based subsidiary E-Sail Shipping Company Ltd (‘E-Sail’) ‘have come into effect’.

‘To allow exporters of humanitarian goods to Iran sufficient time to find alternate shipping methods, we postponed the effective date of these designations for 180 days,’ Pompeo said. ‘Now that this generous delay has come to an end, those in the commercial and maritime industries doing business with Iran must use carriers or shipping methods other than IRISL or E-Sail; any government, entity, or individual that chooses to continue doing business with IRISL and/or E-Sail now risks exposure to U.S. WMD sanctions,’ he warned.

Last week, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (‘OFAC’) designated four companies for operating in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy and identified four vessels as blocked property.

‘The United States reiterates that the exploitation of Venezuela’s oil assets for the benefit of the illegitimate regime of President Nicolas Maduro is unacceptable, and those that facilitate such activity risk losing access to the U.S. financial system,’ a Treasury Department statement said.

A source has told news agencies that the Trump administration is preparing sanctions on as many as 50 oil and fuel tankers as part of an effort to cut off trade between Iran and Venezuela.

In May, President Maduro defended his country’s right to ‘freely trade’ with Iran.