New Delhi: The United States on Wednesday imposed a fresh set of sanctions on Chinese companies that “knowingly” transported Iranian oil violating the existing US curbs under the Trump administration, US Secretary Mike Pompeo stated.

Taking stock of the situation, the Washington administration has heightened the impositions to its “maximum pressure” despite European allies pushing to cool tensions between the US and Iran. The government’s Treasury Department announced that the new sanctions would be placed on five Chinese state-owned giants and six entities, including two COSCO Shipping Corporation subsidiaries.

“US imposed new sanctions against Chinese companies that transported Iranian oil contrary to the US sanctions, denying Iran regime revenues for destabilizing conduct at the expense of Iranian people. We’ll take action on any sanctionable Iranian oil transaction,” Pompeo said.

Last week, the US had imposed sanctions on Iran’s central bank and its national development fund following attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities the week before. President Trump had announced the move calling the new sanctions on Tehran “the highest sanctions ever imposed on a country”.

In a meeting with world leaders on Tuesday, Trump had reiterated its efforts to continue to squeeze Iran’s economy by imposing sanctions as a punishment until Tehran gives up its ‘pursuit for nuclear weapons’.

Following its unilateral exit from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal last year, Washington has been piling up pressure on Tehran through a series of sanctions in an effort to force it to return to negotiations. Iran, however, maintains a tough stance and vows to retaliate against the US’ anti-Iran moves.

With IANS inputs