The U.S. warned to enforce its economic sanctions against Tehran on Thursday and imposed restrictions on companies it suspected of being involved in the petrochemical and petroleum trade with Iran, including those based in China.

According to a statement from the U.S. Department of State's Antony Blinken, Washington has imposed penalties on two Chinese businesses, Zhonggu Storage and Transportation Co. Ltd. and WS Shipping Co. Ltd. are part of the effort to stop the sale of Iranian petrochemical and petroleum products in violation of sanctions.

As chances of restoring the nuclear agreement have diminished, Washington has targeted Chinese corporations more frequently regarding the export of Iranian petrochemicals. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the accord's official name, has been the subject of indirect negotiations that have ended.

In addition, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on a group of businesses it claimed were involved in the export of petroleum and petrochemical products from Iran worth hundreds of millions of dollars to consumers in South and East Asia.

The United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, and India were the targets of the operation, according to the Treasury. As long as Tehran continued to advance its nuclear program, Washington vowed to ratchet up the enforcement of sanctions against Iran's shipments of petroleum and petrochemicals.

"As Iran continues to accelerate its nuclear program in violation of the JCPOA, we will continue to accelerate our enforcement of sanctions on Iran's petroleum and petrochemical sales under authorities that would be removed under the JCPOA," Blinken said. "These enforcement actions will continue on a regular basis, with an aim to severely restrict Iran's oil and petrochemical exports."

In order to avoid being subject to U.S. sanctions, Blinken encouraged anyone engaged in such sales and transactions to halt right away.

In exchange for the removal of international sanctions, the 2015 nuclear agreement placed restrictions on Iran's uranium enrichment activities to make it more difficult for Tehran to manufacture nuclear weapons.

However, the deal was abandoned by then-U.S. President Donald Trump in 2018, claiming that it was insufficient to limit Iran's nuclear activities, ballistic missile program, and regional influence. As a result, new sanctions were put in place, which severely harmed Iran's economy.

It stated that the Triliance-brokered goods were purchased for shipping to China by the Indian petrochemical firm Tibalaji Petrochem Private Limited for millions of dollars. The Treasury further claimed that Triliance paid millions of dollars to UAE-based Clara Shipping LLC in freight charges for transporting Iranian petrochemical and petroleum products to East Asia by using front businesses.