The United States said on Thursday it had removed sanctions on three former Iranian officials and two companies that previously traded Iranian petrochemicals, a step one U.S. official called routine but that could show U.S. readiness to ease sanctions when justified.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the U.S. official said that the moves by the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) were unrelated to efforts to revive Iranian and U.S. compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
“Today, OFAC and the Department of State are also lifting sanctions on three former Government of Iran officials, and two companies formerly involved in the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of Iranian petrochemical products,” the Treasury said in a statement.
It said the delisting reflected “a verified change in behavior or status” of those sanctioned and “demonstrate the U.S. government’s commitment to lifting sanctions in the event of (such) a change.”
A Treasury spokesperson said the three individuals had established “that they are no longer in their positions within entities affiliated with the Government of Iran,” adding there was no reason to maintain sanctions on them.
The oil market briefly plunged after being spooked by media reports suggesting sanctions were lifted on Iranian oil officials, showing the potential impact of additional Iranian barrels if a deal is struck and sanctions lifted.