Saturday, 28 Mar 2020

US cautions against risk of doing business with Iran shipping sector

Washington, US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook has cautioned nations of the risk of doing business with Iran's shipping sector after sanctions were re-imposed on November 5.

"If Iranian tankers make calls to your ports or transit through your waterways, this comes at great risk," Hook told reporters. "Now that our sanctions on the Iranian regime have been re-imposed, we want to alert nations of the risk of doing business with Iran's shipping sector," he made clear. He added that the sanctions that were re-imposed earlier this week "include sanctions on Iran's port operators, as well as its energy shipping and shipbuilding sectors".

"We placed on our sanctions list Iran's national maritime carrier, Iran Shipping Lines, and its oil transport giant, the National Iranian Tanker Company," he indicated. He stressed that these sanctions "are critical to our maximum pressure campaign," noting that Iran's energy sector "accounts for up to 80 percent of the country's income from exports," where the "regime uses this revenue to support its terrorist militias, fund missile proliferation and ustain its revolutionary exploits that destabilize the Middle East."

"We have also re-imposed sanctions on the provision of underwriting services, insurance and reinsurance -- As Iran's maritime carriers and vessels are re-designated and lose access to insurance on the international market, they are likely to turn to self-insurance. "Should there be an accident involving an Iranian tanker, there is simply no way these Iranian insurance companies can cover the loss. "This is especially important for Iran's crude oil tankers, which are usually insured for amounts of USD one billion or more," he remarked.

He stressed that "if entities continue to do business with Iran's tankers, they may assume that Iranian insurers can and will absorb the full liability associated with the accident. This is a fantasy. There is little to gain by taking on so much risk for so little return." "Entities who allow self-insured Iranian tankers to transit through their canals or dock in their ports may be facilitating Iran's illicit activity. "All nations should also be aware of the safety standards and practices of Iran's oil tankers," he said.

He warned that "self-insured Iranian tankers engaging in unsafe behavior with many tons of crude oil on board, is courting environmental and financial disaster." "Our strong message to any entity considering doing business with these Iranian tankers is to rethink your decision. Protect your port. Protect your business. And promote maritime safety," he reiterated.

On Monday, the US re-imposed all sanctions that were suspended following the nuclear agreement of 2015. The step is seen an American reaction to what it deems as Iran's failure to meet its 12 demands. The sanctions target Iran's ports, petroleum-related transactions, foreign transactions with the Central Bank of Iran, specialized financial messaging services, underwriting services, and its energy sector, Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported.

Source: Bahrain News Agency

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