The communist regime in Beijing is buying Iranian oil in clear defiance of the sanctions imposed by the United States on the Ayatollah regime.
Several vessel tracking services analysed by The New York Times have revealed that there are at least 12 tankers transporting oil from Iran to the Mediterranean (presumably to Syria and Turkey) and to Asia, at least six of them transporting crude oil to China.
The Times examined the movements of more than 70 Iranian oil tankers since May 2, when U.S. sanctions took effect.
“The data and imagery clearly suggests that these tankers, all of which have been linked to the Bank of Kunlun, are involved in transporting Iranian oil,” Samir Madani of TankerTrackers told the Financial Times.
“These tankers are acting as a bridge between Iran and China,” he added.
The United States is very attentive to all movements of ships in and out of Iran and has already had to sanction a Chinese company for “knowingly engaged in a significant transaction for the purchase or acquisition of crude oil from Iran,” the Treasury Department explained in a statement.
The U.S. government will continue to deny ” funding to this regime, which uses its wealth and tremendous resources to enrich itself, deprive the Iranian people of opportunity, and fuel its destructive foreign policy,” according to the same communiqué.
However, oil tankers linked to the Kunlun Bank continue to buy Iranian oil and are using tactics that include turning off tracking devices and changing their names, according to the Financial Times.
In June, Reuters quoted a senior U.S. official who warned that the Pacific Bravo, which was bought by the Kunlun Bank earlier this year, was suspected of transporting Iranian oil.
According to the Financial Times, the United States is pressuring Iran to return to the negotiating table to reach an agreement to replace the nuclear agreement that President Trump withdrew last year.
“We have brought the oil exports of this regime to historic lows,” a U.S. official told the Financial Times. “Our energy sector sanctions combined with strict enforcement could deprive the regime of up to US$50 billion annually. “
Indeed, so far the sanctions have succeeded in drastically reducing the volume of Iranian oil exports.
According to Reuters, in April 2018, before President Trump withdrew from the nuclear agreement, Iran exported 2.5 million barrels of oil per day.
A year later, that figure had dropped to 1 million, and in June, after the end of exemptions, ships loaded about 500,000 barrels a day in Iranian ports, Reid I’Anson, an energy economist at Kpler, a company that tracks products transported by sea, told Reuters.