Vietnam opposes US sanctions on petrochemical firm

Vietnam requested the US on December 17 to lift sanctions imposed on Vietnam Gas and Chemicals Transportation Corporation.
December 18, 2020 | 06:54
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Vietnamese foreign ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang. Photo: Lao dong (Labour)

Vietnam requested the US on December 17 to lift sanctions imposed on Vietnam Gas and Chemicals Transportation Corporation, rejecting allegations it broke UN resolutions on Iran.

On December 16, the US Department of State said it was imposing sanctions on the Vietnam Gas and Chemicals Transportation Corporation for "knowingly engaging, on or after November 5, 2018, in a significant transaction for the transport of petroleum products from Iran."

The department also imposed sanctions on the company’s Managing Director, Vo Ngoc Phung, for serving as a principal executive officer of the company.

Vietnam's Foreign Affairs Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang affirmed at a press conference that the relations between Vietnam and Iran have always been open, transparent and legal.

“Transactions between Vietnam and Iran are civilian goods, which do not violate the United Nations sanctions," she was cited by VnExpress as saying.

She said Vietnam regrets the US decision and requests that the sanctions are lifted so that normal business and economic activities of Vietnamese businesses are not affected.

As a UN member state, Vietnam always abides by the body’s resolutions and strictly punishes violations, she added.

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A gas flare on an oil production platform in the Soroush oil fields is seen alongside an Iranian flag in the Persian Gulf, Iran, July 25, 2005. Photo : Reuters

Apart from Vietnam Gas and Chemicals Transportation Corporation, US sanctions were also imposed on two other Chinese companies and two UAE companies.

The US Department of the Treasury said on its website on December 16 that the four aforementioned companies have facilitated "the export of Iranian petrochemical products by Triliance Petrochemical Co. Ltd. (Triliance), an entity designated by Treasury in January 2020."

"These China and United Arab Emirates based companies have provided Triliance with critical shipping services or conducted financial transactions on behalf of the company, enabling Triliance to continue brokering and moving Iranian petrochemical exports."

Iranian petrochemical sales are an important revenue source for the Iranian regime, generating wealth for its corrupt leaders and financing a range of nefarious activities, including the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, support for foreign terrorist groups, and a variety of human rights abuses, at home and abroad, the department said./.

Analysts have said the sanctions pressuring Tehran seem designed to complicate President-elect Joe Biden’s path to renegotiating a nuclear deal with Iran, according to Reuters.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have risen since Trump abandoned President Barack Obama’s 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and restored harsh sanctions to pressure Tehran to negotiate deeper curbs on its nuclear program, ballistic missile development and support for regional proxy forces.

President-elect Joe Biden, set to take office on January 20, has said he will return the United States to the Obama-era deal if Iran resumes compliance.

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