US Targets Iran’s Steel Industry With New Sanctions

The United States has sanctioned entities and individuals associated with Iran’s steel industry, the U.S. Treasury Department said Tuesday, the latest move in a U.S. pressure campaign against Tehran in the waning days of Donald Trump’s presidency.
The U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement that it blacklisted more than a dozen entities and one person.
The sanctions were imposed on the Chinese-owned Kaifeng Pingmei New Carbon Materials Technology Co., Ltd. (KFCC), a manufacturer of carbon materials, key elements in steel production.
The Treasury Department said the company sold materials and equipment to a steel company in Iran through an Iranian trading firm between December 2019 and June 2020. The company was targeted “for having materially assisted, sponsored or provided financial, material or technological support for, or goods or services in support of Iranian steelmaker Pasargad Steel Complex.”
“The Trump administration remains committed to denying revenue flowing to the Iranian regime as it continues to sponsor terrorist groups, support oppressive regimes and seek weapons of mass destruction,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.
The department said it also targeted nine other Iranian steelmakers and Majid Sajdeh, an executive with the Iran-based Hafez Darya Arya Shipping Company, a subsidiary of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines.  
The Iranian government did not respond immediately to the sanctions, which freeze any U.S. assets the companies and Sajdeh hold and generally prohibits Americans from conducting business with them.
Iran’s steel sector is a major source of revenue for the Iranian government. The country’s steel industry produced nearly 13% more crude steel during the first 11 months of 2020 over the same period the previous year, according to the World Steel Association, making Iran the world’s 11th largest crude steel producer.VOA’s Nike Ching contributed to this report.

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