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Iran May Be Using Lebanon to Skirt Sanctions

By INU Staff

INU - There are concerns that Lebanese companies have been assisting the Islamic Republic of Iran ship oil to Syria in spite of sanctions that are in place.

Business records and tracking data are pointing to some Lebanese companies involved in the illicit transactions. The companies based in Lebanon own and operate the tankers that have been transporting Iranian oil in the eastern part of the Mediterranean.

According to information obtained from TankerTrackers.com, the two vessels in question – Jasmine and Sandro – have been transferring Iranian oil from vessels off the coastline of Syria. The vessels have also been picking up oil in the same way.

Each time a transfer is made, the ship transponders allowing their location to be broadcast have been switched off.

One of the men running the activity is a well-known businessman from Syria who has been sanctioned by the United States. Samer Foz is linked to one of the companies - Sandro Overseas (Off Shore).

Foz was sanctioned by the Trump administration back in June because he has profited “heavily” from the efforts that are being made to reconstruct Syria after years of civil war. The administration said that he has been involved with the seizure of land by the Syrian regime from its own people in order to construct luxury developments. The US Treasury Department said that he and his colleagues, associates and family have “leveraged the atrocities of the Syrian conflict into a profit-generating enterprise”.

The Iranian regime has used this tactic of going dark, or turning its transponder locators off, in order to get around the US sanctions.

It is believed that on 25th July, an Iranian-flagged vessel that has been sanctioned by the US was involved with a ship-to-ship transfer with the Sandro tanker. According to tracking data, the transfer happened close to the Syrian coastline. During this incident, it is estimated that half a million barrels of crude oil moved hands.

The following day, it is believed that the Iran-flagged Jasmine vessel (which has been identified by the American government for previous suspicious activity) transferred around 350,000 barrels of refined oil across to the Sandro. It is unknown what happened to this oil.

The Trump administration has placed Iran under some very tough sanctions with regards to its exports of oil. The aim of the sanctions is to cut the regime off from the funds it plunders on terrorist activities and terrorist proxies and militias across the region. The sanctions are cutting the regime off from one of its biggest sources of revenue and the Trump administration has promised to take any breaches of sanctions seriously.

The people of Iran have been negatively impacted by the sanctions that are placed on the regime, but they understand that they are absolutely necessary in order to put further pressure on the leadership. The people of Iran want regime change so that they can finally have a free and democratic country. They are doing all they can to ensure that this collapse will happen sooner rather than later.

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