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U.S. Warns Iranian Oil Tankers May Be Courting 'Environmental Disaster'

09 November 2018

The State Department warned the global shipping and insurance industries on November 7 that as part of Washington's "maximum pressure campaign" to get Iran to change its behavior, insuring Iranian tankers will now incur penalties under the sanctions reinstated this week. The other two signatories - Russian Federation and China - are firmly opposed to the sanctions.

"We sincerely hope there will be no accidents, but accidents are a very real possibility, given Iran's record", Hook said.

The sanctions are meant to exert pressure on Iran to renegotiate its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, which Trump walked away from this year. "These transponders are created to maximize visibility at sea and turning them off only increases risk of accidents and injuries", Hook said. "Self-insured Iranian tankers engaging in unsafe behavior, with many tons of crude oil on board, are courting environmental and financial disaster".

"Oil prices continue to decline and are now officially in a bear market, having declined 20 per cent from their (October) peak", said William O'Loughlin, investment analyst at Australia's Rivkin Securities.

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These include steps aimed at cutting Iran's sales of oil - the country's main export - "to zero" in a bid to curtail the influence of the regime and its reach in the Middle East.

"Crude prices are rising".

"We've already reduced Iranian crude oil experts by over a million barrels per day. Our economy will be far from collapse", said a senior Iranian official. The countries exempted from the United States sanctions on Iran's oil exports include China, India, Greece, Italy, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey and South Korea, which together took in over 80 percent of Iran's oil exports previous year.

A collision between an oil tanker and a military frigate off Norway's coast temporarily shut down the nation's largest crude-export terminal, halted the pumping of several North Sea grades, and boosted immediate natural gas prices in the United Kingdom. In October, Iran's crude exports were estimated at 1.82 million bpd by data intelligence company Kpler and 1.5 million bpd by another firm that traces Iranian shipments. We have so many countries that are on our side. We will bypass sanctions. "America can not do a damn thing", said a senior official close to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. That initially helped keep crude oil prices at multiyear highs, but as Washington granted waivers to the biggest buyers including China, India, and South Korea, investors turned sour on light and sweet. In May 2018, however, Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement, making a return of sanctions all-but-inevitable. Around 70 percent of small factories, businesses and workshops have begun to close down in the past few months due to scarcity of raw materials and hard currency, according to the Iranian state news agency IRNA. Moreover, Trump's sanctions against Iran's financial sector essentially make 30 banks and their subsidiaries off-limits to foreign lenders, undermining its means to facilitate trade. However, this time the U.S. is alone, and the entire world, except for a few countries, have vowed to maintain business with Iran.

U.S. Warns Iranian Oil Tankers May Be Courting 'Environmental Disaster'