U.S. Hits Iran With Fresh Sanctions as Trump Term Nears End

Trump's term ends on Jan. 20, when Democrat President-elect Joe Biden is to be sworn in to succeed

Reuters
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In this file photo, an Iranian flag flutters in Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, during an official ceremony to kick-start works on a second reactor at the facility, November 10, 2019.
In this file photo, an Iranian flag flutters in Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, during an official ceremony to kick-start works on a second reactor at the facility, November 10, 2019. Credit: Atta Kenare / AFP
Reuters

The United States on Tuesday blacklisted a Chinese company that makes elements for steel production, 12 Iranian steel and metals makers and three foreign-based sales agents of an Iranian metals and mining holding company, seeking to deprive Iran of revenues as U.S. President Donald Trump's term winds down.

The U.S. Treasury Department, in a statement, named the China-based company as Kaifeng Pingmei New Carbon Materials Technology Co Ltd. (KFCC), saying it specialized in the manufacture of carbon materials and provided thousands of metric tonnes of materials to Iranian steel companies between December 2019 and June 2020.

No one at KFCC, which makes graphite electrodes, was available for comment on Wednesday. Filings show the company is owned by Henan Yicheng New Energy, which said it was unaware of the situation.

Shares in Yicheng, which is ultimately controlled by China's Henan province, fell as much as 6.7% to a two-week low on Wednesday. When Yicheng was buying KFCC in 2019, it said exports - to Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Europe - accounted for about half of KFCC's core business.

Among the 12 Iranian companies blacklisted are the Pasargad Steel Complex and the Gilan Steel Complex Co, both of which were designated under Executive Order 13871 for operating in the Iranian steel sector.

The others are: Iran-based Middle East Mines and Mineral Industries Development Holding Co (MIDHCO), Khazar Steel Co, Vian Steel Complex, South Rouhina Steel Complex, Yazd Industrial Constructional Steel Rolling Mill, West Alborz Steel Complex, Esfarayen Industrial Complex, Bonab Steel Industry Complex, Sirjan Iranian Steel and Zarand Iranian Steel Co.

The Treasury said it was also designating MIDHCO's Germany-based subsidiary GMI Projects Hamburg GmbH, its China-based World Mining Industry Co Ltd and U.K.-based GMI Projects Ltd for being owned or controlled by MIDHCO.

"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 in the statement.

Trump's term ends on Jan. 20, when Democrat President-elect Joe Biden is to be sworn in to succeed him.

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