July 22, 2019 / 4:06 PM / 2 months ago

CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-U.S. sanctions Chinese oil buyer over alleged Iran violations

(Corrects name of company to Zhenrong)

WASHINGTON, July 22 (Reuters) - The United States has sanctioned the China’s state-run energy company Zhuhai Zhenrong Co Ltd for allegedly violating restrictions imposed on Iran’s oil sector, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a speech on Monday.

“We’ve said that we will sanction any sanctionable behavior, and we mean it,” Pompeo said in remarks in Florida.

The move comes amid increased tensions between Iran and the West as well as between the United States and China, which have restarted major trade talks.

Republican U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has stepped up its sanctions against Iran after breaking from the nuclear pact brokered between Tehran and other Western nations under the Democratic President Barack Obama.

Zhuhai Zhenrong, which specializes mainly in buying Iranian oil and is based in Beijing, was previously sanctioned in 2012 by the Obama administration over its dealings with Iran.

The company is now a subsidiary of Macau-based, state-controlled conglomerate Nam Kwong Group. (Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; additional reporting by David Brunnstrom Writing by Susan Heavey editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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