US imposes sanctions on iran’s largest petrochemical holding group and network of subsidiaries and sales agents

14-Jun-19

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action against Iran’s largest and most profitable petrochemical holding group, Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (PGPIC), for providing financial support to Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters (Khatam al-Anbiya), the engineering conglomerate of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). As per a press release onthe Department's website, in addition to PGPIC, OFAC is designating PGPIC’s vast network of 39 subsidiary petrochemical companies and foreign-based sales agents.  PGPIC and its group of subsidiary petrochemical companies hold 40% of Iran’s total petrochemical production capacity and are responsible for 50% of Iran’s total petrochemical exports.

“By targeting this network we intend to deny funding to key elements of Iran’s petrochemical sector that provide support to the IRGC,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.  “This action is a warning that we will continue to target holding groups and companies in the petrochemical sector and elsewhere that provide financial lifelines to the IRGC.” “The IRGC systemically infiltrates critical sectors of the Iranian economy to enrich their coffers, while engaging in a host of other malign activities,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker.

The IRGC and its major holdings, such as the Basij Cooperative Foundation and Khatam al-Anbiya, have a dominant presence in Iran’s commercial and financial sectors, controlling multi-billion dollar businesses and maintaining extensive economic interests in the defense, construction, aviation, oil, banking, metal, automobile and mining industries, controlling multi-billion dollar businesses.  The profits from these activities support the IRGC’s full range of nefarious activities, including the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery, support for terrorism, and a variety of human rights abuses, at home and abroad.

In 2018, Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum awarded the IRGC’s Khatam al-Anbiya ten projects in oil and petrochemical industries worth the equivalent of 22 billion dollars, a value four times the official budget of the IRGC.  In late 2016, Iran’s Minister of Petroleum asked the IRGC’s Khatam al-Anbiya to increase its investment and presence across Iran’s oil and petrochemical industries.  

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