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Iran Claims Panama Oil Tanker Cancellations Were Politically Motivated

Iran has dismissed the significance of Panama’s de-flagging of more than a hundred tankers allegedly used by Iran to ship oil abroad in violation of U.S. sanctions.

“We reiterate that such efforts are not only viewed as insignificant and unsubstantiated, but they have been publicized due to political pressure by the imperialist government of the United States,” the Iranian Ports and Maritime Organization said in a statement cited by Press TV.

The statement followed the release by the Panama Maritime Authority of another statement saying it had de-flagged several hundred vessels since 2019 in compliance with the UN’s Convention on the Law of the Sea and in line with Panama’s own efforts to counter illicit financing and illegal fishing, Forbes’ Dominic Dudley reported earlier this month.

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The AMP’s statement came in response to an op-ed by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, in which he claimed Panama had been helping Iran’s regime to survive by helping the government smuggle oil in violation of sanctions. Jeb Bush sits on the advisory board of an organization dubbed United Against Nuclear Iran.

The Panama Maritime Authority (AMP), the entity in charge of the Panamanian Ship Registry, rejected the assertions made by Jeb Bush, a member of the United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) Advisory Board, in a Washington Post op-ed from January 16, 2023, titled “How the United States can stop Panama from helping Iran avoid oil sanctions,” the AMP said in its statement.

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“The Government of Panama maintains a close collaboration with the Government of the United States of America through the Embassy of the United States in Panama, and through direct communication with the Department of State, regarding the Registry of Ships and other safety issues of shared importance,” the authority also said.

In its response, the Iranian maritime authority advised Panama to think about the legal and international implications of such statements, Press TV reported.

 By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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