Iran Transported $2.8BN Worth Of Oil In 2023 Under Washington's Nose

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by Tyler Durden
Sunday, Feb 18, 2024 - 03:10 AM

Via The Cradle

Iran was able to transport $2.8 billion in oil to customers in 2023 using insurance from a US-based company, despite sanctions imposed on Iranian oil sales by the US Treasury, an investigation published by The New York Times (NYT) on Friday has found. 

The oil was transported aboard 27 tankers, using liability insurance obtained by the New York-based American Club. Tankers are typically required to have liability insurance to enter international ports, meaning the US Treasury could have blocked the sale of this oil by demanding the American Club revoke insurance for the tankers.

NYT says the 27 tankers were able to transport shipments across at least 59 trips during 2023. The Treasury Department did not respond to a question from the newspaper about whether it was aware the ships had transported Iranian oil while insured by the American Club.

To identify the shipments, NYT relied on tracking data provided by, SynMax, and Pole Star.

The investigation showed the tankers were engaged in activities suggesting they may be involved in evading US sanctions. The ships are owned by shell companies, are older than average tankers, and use "spoofing" to obscure their locations.

In response to the investigation, Daniel Tadros, the American Club's COO, said it was difficult for his firm to determine if a tanker was carrying Iranian oil and that the US government should play a more significant role in investigating activity that might violate its sanctions. 

"It's impossible for us to know on a daily basis exactly what every ship is doing, where it's going, what it's carrying, who its owners are," Tedros said. "I would like to think that governments have a lot more capability, manpower, resources to follow that."

A US Treasury spokesperson said in a statement: "Treasury remains focused on targeting Iran's sources of illicit funding, including exposing evasion networks and disrupting billions of dollars in revenue."

Lawmakers in the US have criticized officials in the White House for their failure to curb Iranian oil sales and for releasing billions of dollars of seized Iranian oil revenue as part of a prisoner exchange this summer. 

Republican lawmakers claim that Iran has been able to use funds from released oil sales to support "terrorism."

Meanwhile, let's review other recent instances of Biden's failed sanctions policy, and inability to enforce:

"A US refiner imported 10,000 barrels of Russian oil through a blending loophole at storage terminals in the Bahamas.

The crude, brought into Wilmington, Delaware in November, didn’t violate US sanctions because it was exported from Russia to the Bahamas prior to March 8, 2022, when the sanctions began, said Morgan Butterfield, an Energy Information Administration spokesperson. It was then commingled with other oil before being imported into the US, he said."

Iran provides essential support to various armed groups throughout West Asia, collectively known as the Axis of Resistance, including in Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza, and Yemen. These groups are committed to ending Israel's genocide in Gaza, the US occupation of Syria, and US troop presence in Iraq.

"It is very concerning," said Senator Maggie Hassan, a Democrat of New Hampshire, who has filed a bill to strengthen the enforcement of sanctions.

"The United States must use every tool at its disposal to identify, stop and sanction these bad actors," she said. "These new revelations highlight the stakes."