AFP: Iran's leading shipping company has said US sanctions against Tehran over its controversial nuclear programme have hurt the industry, the Aftab Yazd newspaper reported on Wednesday.
TEHRAN (AFP) — Iran's leading shipping company has said US sanctions against Tehran over its controversial nuclear programme have hurt the industry, the Aftab Yazd newspaper reported on Wednesday.
"Currently, because of unfair UN sanctions and US pressure on foreign ships not to cooperate with Iranian-flagged ships, we cannot have our flag on all of our vessels," the head of Bonyad Shipping Company (BOSCO), Ali Safarali, was quoted as saying.
Safarali said that the state shipping organisation receives a 10 percent ports duty from Iranian ships that sail under foreign flags.
This puts the industry under double pressure — both financially because of domestic laws and internationally through the sanctions.
"Fifty percent of imported goods are brought in by ships under foreign flags and this makes the goods more expensive than the end-price," Safarali said.
Iran has been punished with three sets of UN Security Council sanctions and US pressure on its banking system for defying the West's demand that it halt sensitive uranium enrichment activities.
The West fears Iran could use uranium enrichment to make a nuclear weapon, but Tehran insists that its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful and aimed solely at generating energy.
The UN Security Council in the last set of sanctions in March subjected vessels operated or owned by Iran to inspections if they are suspected of carrying prohibited goods based on previous resolutions.
BOSCO is a subsidiary of Bonyad Mostazafan (Foundation of the Oppressed) — a powerful economic entity with numerous subsidiaries and a billion dollars in assets whose head is appointed by supreme leader Ali Khamenei.
Safarali also described US-inspired banking sanctions as the "most important challenge to the shipping industry" in the last Iranian year which ended on March 19.
"Because of the sanctions, transferring money to different places in the world has only been possible for us with difficulty. Shipping firms have to refer to go-betweens and this can be highly risky," he said.
Iran's banking system already suffers from unilateral sanctions imposed by the United States, which has also persuaded major European and Asian banks to cut their dealings with Tehran.