On Friday, the US Administration imposed sanctions on the Syrian state-run oil company Sytrol under the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) for conducting business with Iran's energy sector. The United States remains deeply concerned about the close ties shared by the Iranian and Syrian regimes and is committed to using every tool available to prevent regional destabilization, the State Department Acting Deputy Spokesperson Patrick Ventrell said in a statement.
In April, Syria and Iran engaged in two-way trade in the energy sector, in which Syria sent 33,000 metric tons of gasoline to Iran. The United States has determined that the value of the gasoline delivered by Sytrol to Iran in April was over $36 million, significantly exceeding the monetary thresholds for triggering sanctions under the Iran Sanctions Act. U.S. Law stipulated $1 million threshold for individual transactions and a $5 million threshold for multiple transactions within a twelve-month period. This kind of trade allows Iran to continue developing its nuclear program while providing the Syrian government with resources to oppress its own people, the State Department said.
Though these sanctions are a direct result of Syria's provision of gasoline to Iran, the United States views Iran's broader support for the Assad regime as completely unjustifiable. Iran is actively advising, supplying, and assisting the Syrian security forces and regime-backed militias that are carrying out gross human rights abuses against the Syrian people, the statement said. the United States accused Iran of also providing the Assad regime with equipment to monitor opposition activity on the Internet. Iranian officials have boasted about Iran's support to Assad. Iran's actions in Syria underscore its fear of losing its only remaining ally in the Middle East and an important conduit to Hizballah, the State Department said.
The United States has made it clear that it "stands resolutely against sales of refined petroleum product to Iran and will employ all available measures to bring it to a halt." It warned that "any business that continues to irresponsibly support Iran's energy sector or helps facilitate either nation's efforts to evade U.S. sanctions will face serious consequences."
by RTT Staff Writer
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