Iran is running short of options to replace its aging fleet of tankers and keep oil exports flowing because renewed US sanctions are making potential sellers and flag registries wary of doing business with Tehran, Western and Iranian sources said.
With oil exports accounting for an estimated 70 percent of Iran’s revenues, maintaining a fleet of enough tankers to store and move that oil is crucial for Tehran.
But potential sellers of vessels are more wary under the new round of sanctions after a Greek network that helped Iran buy tankers under previous restrictions was blacklisted.
Having its tankers flagged in Iran presents problems for Tehran – even if it can secure more vessels and approved buyers for its oil, shipping experts say.
Besides China, India and Japan, Washington also gave South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy and Greece the green light to keep buying Iranian oil, although it’s unclear whether these waivers will be renewed when they expire in May.