Washington has plans to issue warnings to oil shippers, insurers, and port authorities that storing Iranian crude oil will bring the wrath of US sanctions, a US State Department official said on Monday, according to Reuters.
The US will target those who store Iranian oil or oil products in violation of current sanctions, “no matter where they are” David Peyman, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Counter Threat Finance and Sanctions, said in a statement.
The US is also looking to ship captains to obtain and submit to US authorities photo evidence of anyone engaged in the practice of ship-to-ship transfers of Iranian oil,
The United States is still working to get Iran’s oil exports to zero, but China, for one, continues to import the sanctioned oil.
The warning from the United States are likely not empty threats. Last year, Chinese shipper COSCO had several units sanctioned after transporting Iranian crude in violation of the sanctions, resulting in a significant increase in shipping costs for the crude trade.
And just two weeks ago, five US citizens were charged with violating Iranian sanctions by buying Iranian oil and selling it on to China. The accused, if convicted, face up to 25-year prison sentences and fines of up to $1.25 million each.
The increased campaign on Iranian sanctions highlight the United States’ dedication to bring about change after the US pulled out of the nuclear deal. While exports haven’t fallen to zero, exports from Iran have fallen sharply, even after Iran’s efforts to circumvent US sanctions by conducting ship to ship transfers and turning off transponders to avoid detection.
Iran has admitted that the US sanctions have stymied its oil industry, but vowed to continue to resist the effects of the sanctions by increasing subversive activities in the way it ships its crude oil.