The Atlantas tanker, which transports 2 million barrels of Iranian crude oil for the Polish Lotos refinery, can be seen at the Naftoport oil terminal in Gdansk. The first shipment of Iranian oil to Gdansk is the result of an agreement between the Lotus Group and the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).
Michal Fludra | NurPhoto | Getty Images
WASHINGTON – The Trump administration announced a series of new sanctions and additional measures against Iran's oil sector on Monday as Washington continues to step up its campaign against Tehran with maximum pressure.
The Ministry of Finance imposed sanctions on the Iranian Ministry of Oil, the National Iranian Oil Company and the National Iranian Tanker Company for providing financial support to the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Assad regime in Syria.
The Treasury Department also named several companies and individuals affiliated with the Ministry of Petroleum, the Oil Company and the Tanker Company, including frontline companies, subsidiaries and officers. In addition, the Treasury Department has named four people who were involved in the recent sale of Iranian gasoline to the Maduro regime in Venezuela.
According to the Treasury Department, the cooperation and coordination of these units in the sale of oil resulted in tens of millions of euros in revenue that benefited the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
"The regime in Iran is using the oil sector to fund the destabilizing activities of the IRGC-QF," Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. "The Iranian regime continues to prioritize its support for terrorist units and its nuclear program over the needs of the Iranian people," added Mnuchin.
The latest revelation comes just over a week leading up to election day and a month after the United States unilaterally imposed UN sanctions on Tehran through a snapback trial that other UN Security Council members previously said Washington did not have the authority to do carry out because he withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018.
In the same week that the US re-imposed United States sanctions, the Trump administration increased the stake even further. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, flanked by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Mnuchin and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, said the government would sanction the entire Iranian Defense Ministry.
"No matter who you are, if you violate the United States arms embargo on Iran, you risk sanctions," Pompeo said in a September 21 address. "Our actions today are a warning that should be heard around the world," he added.
Esper followed Pompeo's remarks, saying the Pentagon was "ready to respond to future Iranian aggression" and called on Tehran to "act like a normal country".
"We continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with our allies and partners to counter the destabilizing behavior of Iran. In doing so, we will protect our people and interests, and ensure the security of like-minded nations across the region," added Esper.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran have risen following President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the landmark Iranian nuclear deal in 2018, calling it "the worst deal ever".
The 2015 deal lifted sanctions against Iran, which crippled its economy and roughly halved its oil exports. In return for the sanctions easing, Iran accepted limits on its nuclear program until the terms expire in 2025.
Trump has previously said that the US wants to reach a broader deal with Iran that will tighten its nuclear and ballistic missile work and suppress the regime's role in regional proxy wars. Tehran has refused to negotiate as long as the US sanctions remain in place.