US’ Iran-Bound Cargoes Still Operational Despite Sanctions

Published November 7th, 2018 - 08:22 GMT
Iran is among the countries which the US is courting for stepped-up sales of the oilseed. (Shutterstock)
Iran is among the countries which the US is courting for stepped-up sales of the oilseed. (Shutterstock)

A vessel carrying soybeans has left the US for Iran for the second straight week, a Bloomberg report said on Tuesday, a day after Washington decided to reinstate all its sanctions against Tehran.

The bulk carrier with 56,951 tonnes of soybeans is headed for Bandar Imam Khomeini in Iran, having departed from the Port of Longview in southwest Washington on November 1, the financial news provider said.

It is the 13th cargo to depart for Iran since July when the US war with China began and looming American sanctions on Tehran forced some Asian and European companies to stop imports of Iranian crude.

China is the world’s top consumer of soybeans, but its trade standoff with the US has left American traders scampering for new customers.

Iran is among the countries which the US is courting for stepped-up sales of the oilseed. So far this year, the United States has sent 873,420 tonnes of soybeans to Iran, according to Bloomberg.

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Iran’s energy, shipping and banking were the sectors which came under the “toughest sanctions ever” by the Trump administration on Monday.

The US announces the reimposition of new and strengthened sanctions against Iran in an attempt "to force Tehran to change its behavior to Washington’s liking."

The US Treasury imposed penalties on more than 700 Iranian and Iranian-linked individuals, entities, aircraft and vessels in the new sanctions.

They cover 50 Iranian banks and subsidiaries, more than 200 persons and vessels in its shipping sector, national flag carrier Iran Air, and more than 65 of its aircraft, according to a US Treasury statement.

In a gaffe which drew immediate ridicule, the US sanctions targeted the oil tanker Sanchi that sank off the coast of China in January and Tat Bank, which was dissolved in 2012.  

"Americans think their list is more effective if it is longer," Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri said on Tuesday.

Officials say the sanctions, other than putting Iran's economy under some strain, are also an opportunity to wean it off oil and diversify the country’s sources of income.

Experts and analysts say the US strategy is doomed to failure, and will likely end in humiliation for the US, while Iran will gain confidence and power.

The US has reinstated all its sanctions lifted under a 2015 nuclear deal on Iran but experts say the measures will have only a modest effect on the Iranian economy.

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed M. Kazem Sajjadpour said on Tuesday the United States has the “very simple naive” view that Iran will wilt under the pressure.

“The assumption is, we cut the money of the oil, then Iran will be deprived, then Iranian people will revolt, then the system will be changed, then we are fine, then the paradise will come,” he said in a Chatham House talk in London.

Jahangiri said the "Americans intend to damage economy of the country" through psychological warfare. He said he had discussed the sanctions list with other officials, with many saying it was "less than what we expected."

Iran, he said, has been able to sell as much oil as it needs despite US pressure. "The Americans constantly said they would reduce the sale of Iran’s oil to zero but I have to say that so far, we have been able to sell our required amounts of oil."

Governor of the Central Bank of Iran Abdolnasser Hemmati said Iranian banks should use their previous experience dealing with sanctions to help the country's economic situation.

"Banks, with all their power, and by using their experience in the previous round of sanctions, should take steps to preserve and support the foreign trade process and financial transfers," he said.

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