28 Jun 2019
Satellite imagery and other data show that the government of China has continued to purchase Iranian crude oil despite the reimplementation of US sanctions targeting Iran’s oil buyers, the Financial Times reported Wednesday.
Under a law enacted during the Obama administration, the Treasury Department can impose so-called “secondary sanctions” against the central banks of governments that buy Iranian oil above limits set by the US government. The sanctions regime has never been imposed against a third country and had remained effectively dormant following the official implementation of the Iran nuclear accord in January 2016.
That potentially changed last month after the Trump administration announced it would no longer issue waivers for countries that continue to buy Iranian crude on an unrestricted basis.
Last week, the government of China received its first delivery of Iranian oil when a Suezmax tanker docked in Jianzhou Bay, according to the newspaper. The delivery was identified by TankerTrackers, a firm that monitors oil shipments via satellite signals and imagery, the FT said.
The tanker Salina loaded oil from Iran’s Kharg Island in late May, weeks after the Trump administration formally ceased issuing the sanctions waivers, Samir Madani, co-founder of TankerTrackers told the news outlet.
“This is the first Iranian tanker that has delivered crude oil that had departed Iran after the US removed the waivers in early May, with the exception of oil Iran has been sending to Syria,” Madani told the FT. “Based on tankers we have been tracking, we expect China to take more Iranian oil in the coming days.”
Another Iranian supertanker is expected to deliver as much as 2-million barrels of oil to the Chinese province of Tianjin before the end of the month, according to the report, which can be read in full here.
Count this content towards your CPD minutes, by signing up to our CPD WalletFREE CPD Wallet