Iran Lodges Protest at IMO Over U.S. Sanc­tions

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TEHRAN - Iran lodges a com­plaint with the In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime Or­ga­ni­za­tion (IMO) against the U.S. over the re-im­po­si­tion of sweep­ing sanc­tions, which tar­get scores of Ira­nian ships as part of Wash­ing­ton’s much-crit­i­cized push to cut off the coun­try’s oil ex­ports.

In a tweet on Thurs­day, Iran’s Am­bas­sador the UK Hamid Baei­dine­jad said the diplo­matic mis­sion un­der his watch sub­mit­ted a let­ter to the Lon­don-based body to voice Tehran’s protest at the re­turn of the un­law­ful US sanc­tions.

In the let­ter, Tehran’s Em­bassy con­demned “the im­po­si­tion by the U.S. of uni­lat­eral sanc­tions on Iran’s ships as a mea­sure that vi­o­lates in­ter­na­tional mar­itime law and en­dan­gers mar­itime se­cu­rity.” It also called on the IMO to con­duct a “spe­cial re­view” of the mat­ter at its Assem­bly -- the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s high­est gov­ern­ing body.

As a spe­cial­ized agency of the United Na­tions, the IMO -- which has 174 mem­ber states -- is tasked with reg­u­lat­ing in­ter­na­tional ship­ping. The or­ga­ni­za­tion works to pro­mote “safe, se­cure, en­vi­ron­men­tally sound, ef­fi­cient and sus­tain­able ship­ping through co­op­er­a­tion,” as its mis­sion state­ment reads.

It also ad­dresses safety is­sues, en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns, le­gal mat­ters, tech­ni­cal co­op­er­a­tion among mem­ber states, mar­itime se­cu­rity and the ef­fi­ciency of ship­ping.

The com­plaint was filed days af­ter Wash­ing­ton put back in place a new round of uni­lat­eral sanc­tions against Iran’s bank­ing and en­ergy sec­tors with the aim of cut­ting off its oil sales and cru­cial ex­ports.

The U.S. Trea­sury De­part­ment’s sanc­tions list in­cludes over 200 peo­ple and ships among more than 700 Ira­nian or Iran-linked tar­gets.

Wash­ing­ton has not even spared Iran’s ill-fated Sanchi oil tanker, which col­lided with a frigate off China’s east coast in Jan­uary and sank with 32 peo­ple on board, in a gaffe that drew mock­ery from Ira­nian peo­ple and of­fi­cials.

On Wed­nes­day, the U.S. warned all ports and in­sur­ance com­pa­nies to steer clear of Ira­nian ships, with Brian Hook, the State De­part­ment’s spe­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive on Iran pol­icy, say­ing the bans ex­tended to in­sur­ers and un­der­writ­ers.

“Know­ingly pro­vid­ing th­ese ser­vices to sanc­tioned Ira­nian ship­ping com­pa­nies will re­sult in the im­po­si­tion of US sanc­tions,” Hook told re­porters, adding, “From the Suez Canal to the Strait of Malacca and all choke points in be­tween, Ira­nian tankers are now a float­ing li­a­bil­ity.”

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