Former NITC Chief Dismisses Report on New Sanctions

Former NITC Chief Dismisses Report on New SanctionsFormer NITC Chief Dismisses Report on New Sanctions

Former managing director of National Iranian Tanker Company said all restrictions imposed on the state-run company were lifted after the implementation of the nuclear agreement with the six world powers in January, dismissing reports on new sanctions on the national carrier.

According to Ali Akbar Safaei, Fars News Agency's claims last week on imposition of new sanctions against NITC "is a false report that was issued without the necessary technical analysis," IRNA reported.

Fars had said in its report that a European Union court would slap new sanctions on NITC.

Safaei said "courts are in charge of settling disputes and are not eligible to impose sanctions on companies."

Moreover, he added that blacklisting the NITC would be a flagrant violation of the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which led to the removal of some sanctions nine months ago.

Commenting on the first round of sanctions imposed on NITC in 2012, the official noted that some sanctions were revoked in 2014 after NITC's plea to an EU court of law to ease trade restrictions. Nonetheless, the EU applied new round of sanctions on NITC in 2015 which were fully removed when the nuclear accord came into force.

According to Safaei, the EU court can neither impose sanctions nor prevent European insurance companies from covering Iranian oil tankers.

"NITC has received no official notification from any European court, and that's why we categorically deny any new restrictions against the company."

  Lost Tankers

On reports related to "missing tankers" that surfaced in August, he said without elaboration that all tankers purchased by the NITC during the sanctions have been delivered to the country.

Iran had reportedly purchased eight oil tankers during the tenure of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2012, but it was said that only five were delivered in a dubious deal valued at around $260 million.

Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said in a statement earlier that the previous government had made a deal with a Greek broker, under which the individual was to buy the tankers in his name and to deliver to NITC.

"This guy (the broker) had received the money from Iran, but some problems emerged in the delivery of tankers and he did not return the money," Zanganeh said in August, adding that the broker was later arrested.

  Diversifying Sources of Revenue

Sirous Kianersi, NITC's newly appointed managing director, believes that the company has been able to cope with some daunting challenges during sanctions, yet new policies should be adopted to improve NITC operations.

He noted that plans have been made to diversify the revenue sources of NITC by increasing  shipments of liquefied natural gas.

According to the official, "given the company's economic difficulties during the last four years, NITC's profit margin is acceptable; nonetheless, NITC has the potential to play a more active role in international markets."

NITC operates one of the world's largest tanker fleet ahead of regional rival Saudi Arabia as well as Qatar, Oman and the UAE, according to the United Nations' 2015 Maritime Transport report. Reportedly, Iran has 42 very large crude carriers (VLCCs), nine Suezmaxes, five Aframaxes and several other ships, with the fleet’s average age at around 8.5 years.  


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