The US government today imposed sanctions on Petroleos de Venezuela, Venezuela's state-owned oil corporation, and six other foreign companies for facilitating the supply of gasoline to Iran. The move came a day after President Obama signed an executive order giving the departments of Treasury and State more leeway in targeting companies involved in Iran’s energy sector [AP, 24 May].
The seven companies hit by sanctions today were Petroleos de Venezuela, Tanker Pacific of Singapore, Ofer Brothers Group of Israel, Associated Shipbroking of Monaco, Petrochemical Commercial Company International of Jersey and Iran, the Royal Oyster Group of the UAE and Speedy Ship of the UAE and Iran. These are the first sanctions related to export of refined petroleum to Iran since the congress passed the CISADA act last year.
The sanctions for the most part prevents the companies from doing business in the US, although in case of Petroleos de Venezuela, it will be barred from US government contracts and financing, but will not be banned from selling oil to the US or affect its subsidy Citgo.
Venezuela's government condemned the sanctions, saying in a statement that it is evaluating to what extent the sanctions affect the operations of the country’s national oil industry.
The Israeli company is accused of failing to exercise due diligence in participating in the 2010 sale of an oil tanker to the Iranian national shipping company.