US blacklists companies in Iran's metals sector

The move is the latest US effort to slash Iranian revenues since President Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal.

    An Iranian worker wears a protection hat at a steel complex in Isfahan province south of Tehran, Iran, where the steel, aluminium, copper and iron sectors generate billions of dollars each year [File: Stringer/Reuters]
    An Iranian worker wears a protection hat at a steel complex in Isfahan province south of Tehran, Iran, where the steel, aluminium, copper and iron sectors generate billions of dollars each year [File: Stringer/Reuters]

    The United States on Thursday blacklisted four companies in Iran's metals sector, as well as one German and three Emirati subsidiaries of Iran's largest steelmaker that Washington said generate millions of dollars for Tehran's metals industry.

    The Treasury Department said in a statement the sales agents together generated tens of millions of dollars annually from the foreign sale of Mobarakeh Steel Company products, contributing to billions of dollars generated overall by Iran's steel, aluminium, copper and iron sectors.

    "The Iranian regime continues to use profits from metals manufacturers and foreign sales agents to fund destabilizing behavior around the world," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement.

    The sanctions are the latest US effort to slash Iranian revenues since US President Donald Trump withdrew in 2018 from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, exacerbating US-Iranian tensions.

    Thursday's action targeted Tara Steel Trading GmbH, a Germany-based subsidiary of Mobarakeh Steel Co; United Arab Emirates-based sales agents Pacific Steel FZE, Better Future General Trading Co LLC and Tuka Metal Trading DMCC, all majority-owned by Mobarakeh Steel Co; and Iran-based Metil Steel, also majority-owned by the company.

    Mobarakeh Steel Co, previously blacklisted by Washington, accounts for 1 percent of Iran's gross domestic product, the Treasury said.

    The Treasury also blacklisted Iran-based aluminium, steel and iron producers South Aluminum Company, Sirjan Jahan Steel Complex and Iran Central Iron Ore Company.

    Also designated was Global Industrial and Engineering Supply Ltd, which the Treasury said had addresses in China and Hong Kong and had in 2019 knowingly transferred graphite to a blacklisted Iranian entity.

    The sanctions freeze any US assets held by the companies and generally prohibit Americans from dealing with them.

    It did not appear Thursday's actions were related to companies cited in a Reuters News Agency report on Wednesday disclosing Iran's production of aluminium powder for use in missiles.

    SOURCE: Reuters news agency