On 6 July, the US applied sanctions on a network of Emirati and Chinese companies that are accused of helping to sell and deliver Iranian petrochemical products and petroleum to countries in East Asia.
In its statement, the US Treasury Department said this network is used to facilitate the sale of hundreds of millions of dollars in products from Iranian firms to China and elsewhere in East Asia.
Over recent months, Washington has increasingly targeted Chinese cooperation over the export of Iranian products.
“While the United States is committed to achieving an agreement with Iran that seeks a mutual return to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), we will continue to use all our authorities to enforce sanctions on the sale of Iranian petroleum and petrochemicals,” the Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, Brian Nelson, said.
Back in May, China received around two million barrels of Iranian crude oil that it said it would pump into an oil terminal in the Zhanjiang city of Guangdong province, southwest of the country.
Despite ongoing economic sanctions imposed on Iran by the US, China has been purchasing large amounts of Iranian oil over the past two years.
Iran plays a crucial role in the Belt and Road Initiative, a mega-infrastructure and economic initiative launched by Beijing to link the economies of Europe, Asia and Africa, with an eye on expanding to Latin America.
In Doha last week, indirect talks between Washington and Tehran allegedly ended without a breakthrough according to US officials, with Iran suggesting otherwise.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry announced on 27 June that ongoing indirect negotiations between the US and Iran over reviving the 2015 nuclear deal will restart in the coming days.
According to the announcement, the venue is switching from Vienna, Austria to a Persian Gulf state.
According to member of the Iranian parliament and advisor to Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Mohammad Marandi, the Persian Gulf state in question is Qatar, specifically, the capital city of Doha, due to the friendly ties it shares with Tehran.
Over recent years, Iran has played an instrumental role in cooperating with other countries to overcome the effects of punitive US sanctions.
On 3 May, Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji met with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas to discuss energy relations and ways to overcome the repercussions of US sanctions unilaterally imposed on the two countries.
Venezuela and Iran have recently stepped up energy cooperation to overcome sanctions, with Venezuela importing condensate and thinners from Iran.
Back in January, an Iranian supertanker started discharging about two million barrels of Iranian condensate at the main port of Venezuela’s state-run oil company, as part of a bilateral deal that defies the US sanctions imposed on both nations.