Editorial: Iran oil embargo slips under the radar

Tim Haïdar

"Ships that pass in the night, and speak [to] each other in passing, only a signal shown, and a distant voice in the darkness"

And so the Iranian oil embargo seems to have passed in the night, like one of those proverbial ships, unannounced and under the radar.

As Saudi Arabia and OPEC ramp up production to fill the deficit left by the European Union’s sanctions, 15 of the 39 ships in the Iranian tanker fleet are now flying the flag of island nation Tuvalu in an attempt to circumvent the EU’s proclamation.

As the Tuvaluan flag flutters in the Persian Gulf, MPs in Tehran yesterday drafted a bill calling for Iran to try to stop shipping crude through the strategic choke point of the Strait of Hormuz to countries that support sanctions.

If rubber stamped by the 12-member Council of Guardians, the counteroffensive sanctions will take place with immediate effect. Would they dare and what would the consequences be?

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