The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on Iranian petrochemical producers as well as Chinese and Indian brokers, AFP reported.
President Joe Biden's administration said that it still remained committed to diplomacy with Iran to restore a 2015 agreement on curbing its nuclear program.
"Absent a deal, we will continue to use our sanctions authorities to limit exports of petroleum, petroleum products and petrochemical products from Iran," said Brian Nelson, senior Treasury Department official.
The Treasury Department said it was imposing sanctions on a network of Iranian petrochemical firms including alleged front companies in China and the United Arab Emirates for Iran's state-owned company and Triliance, a Hong Kong-based company already under US sanctions for its dealing with Iran.
It also took action against China-based broker Jeff Gao and Indian national Mohammad Shaheed Ruknooddin Bhore for allegedly managing business for Triliance.
The sanctions come as talks with Iran on a return to the 2015 agreement remain stalled.
Iran scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal, in response to former US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in May of 2018, but has held several rounds of indirect talks with the US on a return to the agreement.
An agreement was nearly reached before the talks stopped in March. US Special Envoy for Iran Rob Malley told lawmakers recently that the prospects for reaching a deal with Iran are “tenuous” at best.
On Wednesday, Biden administration officials assured senators that the US would ramp up sanctions on Iran if needed as hopes dim for a diplomatic pathway on Tehran’s nuclear program.