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U.S. levies sanctions on Iranian petrochemical industry

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The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on Iran’s petrochemical industry, vowing to target more of the Islamic regime’s sources of revenue after curbing its vital oil exports.

Washington also announced action against companies based in Cyprus, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates for support to Iranian entities accused of involvement in the country’s controversial nuclear program.

US officials said they were taking action against Iran’s petrochemical industry as it represented the Iranian government’s largest source of revenue after oil, which has been severely curtailed by a US-led sanctions campaign.

“We are committed to intensifying the pressure against Iran, not only by adopting new sanctions, but also by actively enforcing our sanctions and preventing sanctions evasion,” David Cohen, the Treasury Department point man on sanctions, said in a statement.

“We will continue to work with our partners around the world to ensure that the sanctions pressure on Iran builds so long as Iran continues to defy its… international obligations,” he said.

The United States slapped sanctions that include a ban on US-based financial transactions on the Niksima Food & Beverage Co., a Dubai-based frozen yogurt and dessert company.

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The State Department accused the company of receiving payments on behalf of Iran’s Jam Petrochemical Company, which was put under the same sanctions.

The Treasury Department also identified eight Iranian petrochemical companies as being under the control of the Tehran government, which subjects them to US sanctions.

The United States, Israel and European nations have demanded that Iran end sensitive uranium work, fearing that it could be used to develop a nuclear bomb. Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

Since last year, the United States has brandished sanctions against anyone who buys Iran’s oil. In its latest move, it punished Ferland Co., which is based in Cyprus and Ukraine, for allegedly assisting the Iranian National Tanker Company.

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US authorities also took action against several individuals and airlines for alleged cooperation with Iran, including Kyrgyzstan-based Kyrgyz Trans Avia and Ukraine-based Ukrainian-Mediterranean Airlines, also known as Um Air.

Despite the tough sanctions, the United States on Thursday lifted a ban on laptops, mobile telephones and other equipment, saying the step would help ordinary Iranians circumvent government controls.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]

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Virginia Democrats are so fired up that the party chair had to scold them: ‘Sit down — be quit’

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Democrats in Virginia are fired up as they gathered in Richmond for their annual gala dinner.

Political analysts believe the Democratic Party of Virginia has a good chance to win control of the state legislature in 2019's election, before setting their sights on the Commonwealth continuing its recent trend of voting Democratic in presidential elections.

Patrick Wilson, a political reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, attended the event.

He reported that Democrats were so "noisy" that it was hard to hear the speakers, which include presidential candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

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‘Everyone knows what to expect’ at Trump’s Amway Center re-election kickoff

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Donald Trump considers himself a legendary salesman, but can he really sell America on giving him four more drama-filled years at the White House?

Tuesday, he'll make his big pitch.

The 2020 reelection kickoff rally is being held in Orlando, Florida and campaign operations chief Michael Glassner says the "historic" event "has already generated tens of thousands of ticketing requests."

There's little mystery about how the night will go down.

Expect Trump, the self-promoting hero of his ghost-written book "The Art of the Deal," to claim the US economy is richer, the military stronger, and the country more respected than ever in history.

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Florida man’s own family blasts him after he was arrested for racist threats: ‘This isn’t how we were raised’

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After a Florida man was arrested for trying to start a race war, a member of his own family slammed his values.

"A Florida man’s social media posts that threatened violence against African-Americans, Jews and homosexuals and that urged his followers to start a race war netted him a $1 million bond," the Miami Herald reported Saturday. "And then there’s another $100,000 bond he would have to pay to get out of Lee County Jail because of a weapons charge."

Joshua Leff, 40, is being held in the Lee County Jail.

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