The United States has sanctioned a Chinese company for knowingly violating restrictions against purchasing oil from the Iranian regime, underscoring U.S. intent to enforce restrictions that seek to limit the regime’s terror funding and weapons programs.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo July 22 announced the enforcement action against Zhuhai Zhenrong Company Limited, a Chinese firm that knowingly purchased a significant quantity of Iranian oil even after a temporary sanctions exception allowing trade with the regime was terminated in May. Pompeo also announced restrictions against Zhuhai Zhenrong’s principal executive officer, Youmin Li.

“No company or nation should be willing to expose itself to the possibility of supporting Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or the regime’s regional proxies,” Pompeo said.

“The United States will continue to deny funding to this regime, which uses its wealth and tremendous resources to enrich itself, deprive the Iranian people of opportunity, and fuel its destructive foreign policy.”

Woman walking past large mural and missiles (© Vahid Salemi/AP Images)
U.S. sanctions seek to limit Iran’s production of ballistic missiles, such as this Sejjil missile displayed in Tehran in September 2017. (© Vahid Salemi/AP Images)

Recent reports show that the Iran sanctions are crippling the regime’s support for terrorist groups like Hizballah. This spring the United States designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization.

The recently announced action against Zhuhai Zhenrong freezes the company’s assets in the United States. And a special designation of Li, the company official, precludes him from traveling to the United States and imposes other restrictions.

“The U.S. is serious about enforcing our sanctions on the outlaw regime in Iran,” Pompeo said in a July 22 tweet. “So today, we’re taking action against a Chinese company that acquired Iranian oil contrary to U.S. sanctions. No entity should support the regime’s destabilizing conduct by providing it with money.”