Iran’s army is ready to protect its commercial fleet, including crude oil tankers, from any threats, a senior Iranian military commander said on Monday, in an apparent response to last week’s U.S. advisory to all countries and ports doing business with Iran that Iranian ships are a “floating liability.”
“Iran’s armed forces...are prepared today as in the past to protect our fleet of oil tankers against any threats so that it can continue to use marine waterways,” Iran’s semi-official news agency ISNA quoted Rear-Admiral Mahmoud Mousavi, a deputy commander of the regular armed forces, as saying on Monday.
Last week, after the U.S. sanctions on Iran’s oil, shipping, and insurance industries returned, the Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said at a press briefing that “If Iranian tankers make calls to your ports or transit through your waterways, this comes at great risk.”
“From the Suez Canal to the Strait of Malacca and all chokepoints in between, Iranian tankers are now a floating liability. Countries, ports, and canal operators, and private firms should know they will be likely responsible for the costs of an accident involving a self-insured Iranian tanker,” Hook said.
“Self-insured Iranian tankers engaging in unsafe behavior with many tons of crude oil onboard 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,” Hook added.
In what is seen as a response to these remarks, Rear-Admiral Mousavi was quoted as saying today that “Iran’s armed forces have the preparedness to protect our commercial fleet...as they have in the past 40 years.” Related: OPEC Fears Another Downturn In Oil
Iran will file a complaint at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) over the “cruel sanctions on maritime transportation” from the United States, the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) quoted the Head of Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran, Mohammad Rastad, as saying on Monday.
After the U.S. sanctions entered into force last week, Iran is carrying on with its defiant tone, with First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri saying on Monday that “Iran has so far managed to export oil as much as it needed and the US has had to issue sanctions waivers to eight countries to continue buying oil from Iran.”
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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