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            november 20, 2019

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No change in Iranian cargo volumes after 5 months of sanctions relief


Limited sanctions relief for Iran has not resulted in any increase in shipping activity after five months, Reuters reports.
Iran and Western governments reached an agreement last November over Tehran's nuclear work in exchange for limited sanctions relief for six months - from January to July - under the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA).
But the usual pattern of relying more on land routes to Iran and use its own commercial fleet is little changed, as insurance problems have left shipments into the country stuck in transit.
An Iranian official told Reuters: "Shipping volumes have dropped as there are difficulties at customs; insurance companies are hesitant to cover ships en route to Iran; as well as letters of credit problems."
"The principle sanction against non-US companies is that they can be denied access to US banking, and therefore they can't trade in US dollars. That is a very real and adverse result," said Doug Maag of law firm Clyde & Co.
As world shipping is conducted in US dollars, trade with Iran leaves companies exposed to being forbidden access to the US financial system, he said.
Iran was never barred from buying food or other humanitarian goods, but the restrictions have hit approved transactions as well.
"The risks of doing business with Iran are still far too great," said Mark Wallace of United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), which persecutes companies trading in Iran.
Iranian port operator Tidewater Middle East Co, which operates seven terminals including the biggest container port Bandar Abbas and major grain terminal Bandar Imam Khomeini, has been blacklisted, which has discouraged foreign shipping firms.

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