As part of ongoing economic measures against the Iranian regime, The White House announced new sanctions targeting the mullahs’ petrochemical industry.
The new financial penalties come while Washington is increasing pressure on Tehran for its ballistic missile development, terrorism, and proxy wars across the Middle East.
The U.S. Treasury said Iran’s oil ministry last year awarded Khatam al-Anbiya, the economic and the engineering arm of the regime’s Terrorist Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), ten projects in the oil and petrochemical industries worth $22 billion, four times the IRGC’s official budget.
The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action against Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (PGPIC), Iran’s largest and most profitable petrochemical holding group, for providing financial support to the Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters.
Additionally, OFAC is targeting the PGPIC’s vast network of 39 subsidiary petrochemical companies and foreign-based sales agents. PGPIC and its group of subsidiary petrochemical companies hold 40 percent of Iran’s total petrochemical production capacity and are responsible for 50 percent of Iran’s total petrochemical exports.
“By targeting this network we intend to deny funding to key elements of Iran’s petrochemical sector that provide support to the IRGC” said U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.
“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,” Mnuchin added.
The Treasury Department says the IRGC and its major holdings, such as the Basij Cooperative Foundation and Khatam al-Anbiya, have a dominant presence in Iran’s commercial and financial sectors, controlling multi-billion dollar businesses and maintaining extensive economic interests in the defense, construction, aviation, oil, banking, metal, automobile and mining industries, controlling multi-billion dollar businesses. The profits from these activities support the IRGC’s full range of nefarious activities, including the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery, support for terrorism, and a variety of human rights abuses, at home and abroad.
The US administration on April, officially designated the IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). According to U.S. law, any American dealing or transacting with the IRGC could be charged with support for terrorism and get 20 years imprisonment.
As a result, the economy of Iran is in a terrible state and experts and analysts believe that the country is about to face a terrible recession. The biggest contributor to this is the action that the United States has taken regarding Iran’s oil exports.
The Trump administration announced last year that it would be expecting all foreign countries to cut their imports of Iranian oil to zero by last November. Initially, it was expected there would be no exceptions, but finally the U.S. State Department granted waivers to the biggest importers of Iranian oil.
Then earlier this year, it was announced by the Trump administration that the waivers which were in place would not be renewed, meaning that any country that continues to import oil from Iran after the beginning of May cut-off would be opening themselves up for action by The United States. It was made clear that the United States was taking this seriously.
Iran, as a result of the oil sanctions, has lost its biggest source of revenue. It depended on oil sales to be able to fund its henchmen across the region, in particular the notorious Lebanese Hezbollah.
The U.S. oil sanctions are part of the Trump administration’s maximum pressure campaign that has the aim of putting a stop to Iran’s belligerence in the region and beyond.
There are a number of other issues that are affecting the Iranian economy, including widespread domestic discontent. The people of Iran are desperate for regime change and they have been insistent on achieving their goal. Regime change would spell the end of decades of mistreatment and would finally open the doors to freedom, democracy, the respect of human rights and the end of clerical rule.
Iran has been terrorizing its neighbors in the region for years also. The regime has been responsible for some of the most horrific atrocities in the Middle East and it has sparked, intensified and prolonged conflicts and tensions between nations in the region.
The people of Iran are suffering under a despotic rule that deprives them of freedom in most areas of their lives, but they are also put under a great deal of strain because of the economic crisis. The people are struggling to afford the most basic of essentials and many have lost their entire life savings because of the widespread corruption and IRGC schemes.
The revenues of the petrochemical industry and the resulting currency transfer to the pockets of the Revolutionary Guards are used to suppress the Iranian people and the spread of terrorism and warfare in the region.
Repressive Measures escalate:
The regime is intensifying its crackdown measures in the nation. The most recent measure is that the regime has implemented new suppressive activies in Gilan Province, northern Iran, in order to confront social unrest. 2,000 groups have been established across the province to issue “verbal and physical” warnings to the locals.
The commander of the IRGC branch in Gilan Province claimed “bad hijab” or mal-veiling warnings have been issued in more than 28,000 cases across the province. He also said the IRGC Basij have dispatched “around 22,000 people in Gilan’s neighborhoods” in their weekly patrols.
These remarks shed further light on the scope of crackdown imposed on the Iranian people by the mullahs’ regime. This also indicates how the ruling regime is deeply concerned with daily protests evolving into a new nationwide uprising across the country.
Meanwhile, people are getting more organized. There are more demonstrations reported and Resistance Units help the people on this.
In East Azerbaijan Province, Northwest Iran, members of a Resistance Unit set fire to a Khomeini billboard.
In West Azerbaijan Province, in Northwest Iran, members of a Resistance Unit set fire to a large Khamenei billboard.
In Golpayegan, southwest Iran, members of Resistance Units set fire to a sign and entrance of an IRGC Basij base.
In West Azerbaijan Province, Northwest set fire to an IRGC Basij building.
In Karaj, west of Tehran, members of the Resistance Unit set fire to a Khomeini image.
In Zahedan, southeast Iran, members of Resistance Unit 630 set fire to the sign of an IRGC Basij base.
And in Tehran, the country’s capital, members of Resistance Unit set fire to a large Khamenei poster.
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