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US removes shipping sanctions on Iran

The Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines and the country’s leading ports operator, the Tidewater Middle East Maritime Company, have been removed from the US list of companies designated for sanctions and assets freeze. The removal came after officials from Iran and P5+1 sealed a historic nuclear accord on Tuesday.

The names of 16 shipping executives, including IRISL Managing Director Mohammad Hossein Dajmar, and their companies have been delisted along with the related firms, the IRNA news agency reported.


Iran’s shipping had the biggest number of nationals on a Western blacklist of sanctioned entities for years. IRNA said 132 shipping companies and 16 executives were on the US list in total.   

IRISL Managing Director Mohammad Hossein Dajmar is among 16 Iranian shipping executives removed from the US blacklist. ©Tasnim

Tidewater had been added to the list of Specially Designated Nationals by the US Department of the Treasury in 2011. A statement by the company said all sanctions against Tidewater had been formally abolished, adding it would soon begin “serious” talks with foreign sides for new trade. “From now on, Tidewater is ready to participate with all power and capacity in financing various ports projects along with other Iranian maritime companies,” the statement said.

The company performed more than 90% of container operations at the main ports in Iran besides handling about one percent of the country’s oil exports before the sanctions were imposed. The US legislation prohibited all payments to Tidewater, which impaired commercial maritime traffic -- even as Iranian ports were not under the sanctions -- and curbed otherwise legal trade.   

Iran relies on container and bulk carriers to transport goods. The Tuesday agreement will also lift US and EU sanctions on dozens of Iranian shipping companies. International shipping lines are already stepping up port calls to Iran as the country’s massive maritime trade sector is emerging from the sanctions.  As Iran’s biggest container port, strategically located at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz, Shahid Rajaee accounts for 90% of Iran’s container traffic.

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