Iran criticizes ‘destructive’ US sanctions against oil trade

Iran on Tuesday slammed The US has called new sanctions against its critical energy sector “devastating” and vowed to respond as nuclear talks stalled for months.

The administration of US President Joe Biden “does not stop this unproductive and destructive action even as efforts are being made to restart negotiations to restart the Iran nuclear deal,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said.

Iran will “show a firm and immediate response” to the sanctions announced the day before and “take all necessary measures to neutralize” their potential impact on the country’s trade, Kanani promised in a statement.

On Monday, the US government blacklisted six companies it said helped Iran export petrochemicals to East Asia to avoid sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear program.

Three Hong Kong trading companies and one firm from the United Arab Emirates were sanctioned by the US Treasury Department for helping Iran’s Persian Gulf Petrochemicals. ship “millions of dollars” worth of oil and petrochemicals to unnamed East Asian buyers, the Treasury Department said.

In addition, the US State Department blacklisted two shipping companies based in China and Singapore for helping arrange shipments.

The sanctions freeze any assets that entities hold under US jurisdiction and prohibit US individuals or entities from doing business with them, effectively limiting their access to the global financial system.

The move comes after talks in Vienna between Iran and several major powers, including the United States, to renew a frayed 2015 international deal on Iran’s nuclear program stalled since March.

Last Tuesday, EU foreign policy chief and coordinator of nuclear talks between Iran and world powers, Josep Borrell, presented a new draft text and called on all parties to accept it or “risk a dangerous nuclear crisis.”

Kanani criticized the Biden administration for “continuing and even expanding” the “failed” policies of his predecessor, Donald Trump, who unilaterally withdrew the US from the nuclear deal in 2018.

Tehran, for its part, is gradually abandoning its obligations.

On Monday, Iran expressed “optimism” that nuclear talks would resume after the draft Borrell compromise was considered.