The Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (PGPIC), Iran’s largest petrochemical holding group, will continue with calm and according to its previous plans of development, CEO of the holding Jafar Rabiei announced after the recent US sanctions.
“At a time like this, we need to keep our composure and take steps on the previously predicted path. One should not overhype the situation in the other side’s favor,” Rabiei said on Friday.
“Our economic situation right now is faced with an economic war, and sanctions are one of the tools wielded by the other side in this war,” he added.
He was reacting to the recently imposed sanctions by the United States on the group.
The Treasury Department in a statement on Friday accused PGPIC of its financial support for the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and said that sanctions are aimed to choke off financing for Iran’s largest and most profitable petrochemical group.
Treasury also imposed sanctions on the holding group’s network of 39 subsidiary petrochemical companies and what it called “foreign-based sales agents.” It warned that international companies continuing to partner with PGPIC or its subsidiaries and sales agents “will themselves be exposed to US sanctions.”
“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,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement.
“By targeting this network we intend to deny funding to key elements of Iran’s petrochemical sector that provide support to the IRGC,” he added.
On April 8, the White House labeled Iran “a State Sponsor of Terrorism” and the IRGC a “foreign terrorist organization,” claiming that the elite force “actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft.”
In a swift response, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council designated the US government a supporter of terrorism and CENTCOM a terrorist organization.
On April 16, the Iranian Parliament approved the overall contents of a bill to counter the United States’ designation of the IRGC as a “terrorist organization” after an overwhelming majority of the lawmakers voted in its favor.
The bill received a crushing support of the legislators with 254 yes and only 2 no votes. None of the MPs abstained.
The bill condemns the US move against the IRGC as the official military branch of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Armed Forces based on Article 150 of the Constitution, and declares the US Central Command (CENTCOM) and organizations and institutions under its command as “terrorists”, reiterating that any military, intelligence, financial, technical, training, service and logistical assistance to these forces will be considered as a terrorist act”.
It requires the government to firmly reciprocate the US forces’ terrorist acts which endanger Iran’s interests, and says, “The Islamic Republic of Iran’s government and Armed Forces are required to adopt preventive actions and preemptive defensive measures whenever necessary, to deter any hostile US forces’ use of any possibilities against the Islamic Republic of Iran’s interests.”
The bill also calls on the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces to gather intelligence on CENTCOM commanders and organizations under its command to be sued legally, adding that the judiciary is also required to develop a mechanism to this end.
“The government is required to render legal, material and non-material support to all Iranian and foreign real and legal persons who are harmed for cooperation with the IRGC” under the US designation, it adds.
The bill also asked the General Staff of the Armed Forces and the foreign and defense ministries to use their political, legal and diplomatic capacities to shut down the US bases in the region and end the American forces’ utilization of the regional countries’ facilities, equipment and financial resources.
It also warns all countries and real and legal persons who support the US decision against the IRGC and help its implementation that they would be included in Iran’s reciprocal measures, adding that any restrictions against the IRGC in any part of the world will be reciprocated.
The bill requires the government to protest and take legal action against the US illegal move to designate the IRGC as a “terrorist organization”, and report every 4 months to the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission on its performance under the bill.
It also stresses that all the contents of the bill that are pertinent to the Armed Forces should be enforced based on a relevant command of the commander-in-chief (Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei), adding that the bill should be put in force immediately after approval.
The bill was approved in the parliament just a day after the IRGC was formally blacklisted by the US as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” following a relevant announcement by President Donald Trump on 8 April.