Syrian State-Run Oil Company Sanctioned under the Iran Sanctions Act

Press Statement
Patrick Ventrell
Acting Deputy Spokesperson, Office of Press Relations
Washington, DC
August 10, 2012

Today, the Administration imposed sanctions on the Syrian state-run oil company Sytrol under the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA), as amended by the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (CISADA), for conducting business with Iran’s energy sector. The United States remains deeply concerned about the close ties shared by the Iranian and Syrian regimes and is committed to using every tool available to prevent regional destabilization.

In April of this year, Syria and Iran engaged in two-way trade in the energy sector, in which Syria sent 33,000 metric tons of gasoline to Iran. The United States has determined that the value of the gasoline delivered by Sytrol to Iran in April was over $36 million, significantly exceeding the monetary thresholds for triggering sanctions under this law ($1 million threshold for individual transactions and the $5 million threshold for multiple transactions within a twelve-month period under U.S. law). This kind of trade allows Iran to continue developing its nuclear program while providing the Syrian government with resources to oppress its own people.

Though these sanctions are a direct result of Syria’s provision of gasoline to Iran, the United States views Iran’s broader support for the Assad regime as completely unjustifiable. Iran is actively advising, supplying, and assisting the Syrian security forces and regime-backed militias that are carrying out gross human rights abuses against the Syrian people. Iran is also providing the Assad regime with equipment to monitor opposition activity on the Internet. Iranian officials have boasted about Iran’s support to Assad. Iran’s actions in Syria underscore its fear of losing its only remaining ally in the Middle East and an important conduit to Hizballah.

Today’s sanctions action sends a stark message: the United States stands resolutely against sales of refined petroleum product to Iran and will employ all available measures to bring it to a halt. Moreover, any business that continues to irresponsibly support Iran’s energy sector or helps facilitate either nation’s efforts to evade U.S. sanctions will face serious consequences.

PRN: 2012/1289