New sanctions set by EU against Iran

By Paul Mutter

Bloomberg News reports on a new round of EU sanctions against Iranian banks and firms that will be announced tomorrow:

The new restrictions also include a ban on exports to Iran of materials that could be used in the Iranian nuclear and ballistic programs, in particular graphite, aluminum and steel as well as industrial software. In addition, the EU prohibited the import of natural gas from Iran and broadened the existing export ban on key equipment for the Iranian oil, gas and petrochemical industries.

…. The sanctions list will be extended to include 34 entities that provide “substantial financial support to the Iranian government” and one person involved in the country’s nuclear program, according to the EU statement. The companies are active notably in the oil and gas industry and in the financial sector, the EU said.

 The Wall Street Journal elaborated on the specific maritime measures being taken against the Islamic Republic:

The National Iranian Tanker Co., the largest oil-vessel operator in Iran, is hiding some of the ownership of tankers it controls right under the nose of the U.S. in Central American tax havens, concealing their real nationality from flag registries.

…. On Monday, the EU will formally sign off a ban on the provision of flags to Iranian tankers and cargoes by nationals and companies in the bloc even when operating elsewhere, an EU diplomat said.

…. The same far-reaching measures are being considered against insurers covering Iranian cargoes and so-called classification societies, which survey them to ensure they are fit for sailing … In most cases, those still dealing with Iran are based in Asia.

Reuters reports that Iran’s maritime traffic has decreased 60% this past year, and the fate of an Iranian supertanker order placed in China is being questioned as a result of the new sanctions.

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