Another round of crippling economic sanctions are being levied against Iran by the Trump administration, with the announcement coming last week that the Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (PGPIC) and its partners will be punished.
The PGPIC is being sanctioned, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), because they support Khatam al-Anbiya, a construction firm that does work for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. This is another move to punish the regime of Iran in the hope that it will prevent them from developing nuclear weapons.
“By targeting this network we intend to deny funding to key elements of Iran’s petrochemical sector that provide support to the IRGC,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a press release.
“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,” he added.
“The IRGC systemically infiltrates critical sectors of the Iranian economy to enrich their coffers, while engaging in a host of other malign activities,” Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker said.
Any company in the U.S. or abroad that does business with the PGPIC will be sanctioned as well. The moves put a multi-billion dollar industry at risk at a time when Iran’s economy is in shambles, due in large part to the brutal sanctions of the Trump administration.
Making matters even worse, the Trump administration is in the process of moving 1,500 troops into the region as they continue to inflame tensions under the guidance of U.S. national security adviser John Bolton, a notorious war hawk. The neocons of the Republican Party are very pleased with these developments.
“There can be no doubt that we’ve seen serious, credible, and increased reporting of threats from Iran across the Middle East—whether [from] their own forces like the Revolutionary Guard corps or through their proxies like the rebel groups they support in places like Yemen, or paramilitary forces in Iraq,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) said to Fox News.
Despite the belligerent actions of his own administration, the President still claims he wants to avoid war with the Islamic nation.
“I will not let Iran have nuclear weapons,” Trump said to Fox News during a recent interview. “I don’t want to fight. But you do have situations like Iran, you can’t let them have nuclear weapons — you just can’t let that happen.”
“With all of everything that’s going on, and I’m not one that believes — you know, I’m not somebody that wants to go into war, because war hurts economies, war kills people most importantly — by far most importantly,” Trump added.
While Trump may want to avoid conflict, his administration’s constant provoking of Iran under the dubious notion that they might get nuclear weapons could make another war in the Middle East an unfortunate reality.