Millions of barrels of crude oil are en route to Syria from Iran, violating US sanctions.
According to a civilian naval intelligence company, four ships of more than 3 million combined barrels are heading for the oil refinery in Baniyas, near the Mediterranean coast.
A satellite photo taken two days ago over the southern part of the Red Sea shows four ships: Arman 114, Sam 121, Daran and Romina.
The Arman 114 is formerly known as Adrian Darya 1, a ship at the center of the US-Iran standoff in the summer of 2019. It was sanctioned by the Trump administration in August 2019, following its attempts to transfer oil to Syria.
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Syria is grappling with an oil shortage, relying mainly on Iranian aid. However, with the sanctions weighing heavily on both countries, the shortage has turned into a crisis, causing blackouts and gasoline rationing.
Once the ships arrive, analysts believe they will supply Syria with enough oil for three weeks.
“Currently, one of the four Iranian tankers has crossed the Suez Canal carrying crude oil for the Syrian refinery in Baniyas,” Samir Madani, co-founder of Tanker Trackers, told Fox News. The Romina turned off his AIS, a familiar move by Iranian tankers to avoid follow-up.
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“Only the first 900,000 barrels are currently in the Mediterranean and could reach Syria no earlier than Wednesday. The recent delays in the Suez Canal due to the EVER GIVEN as well as today’s accident have exacerbated the crisis for a population of 17 million, ”says Madani.
Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, told reporters during his weekly press briefing on April 5 that Iran has already been able to sell crude oil in defiance of sanctions. “As for taking back Iran’s share of the oil market, we never waited, and you can see it in official and unofficial statistics,” he said.
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According to an anonymous source, Iranian Press TV reported on Monday that Iran would only agree to return to its nuclear deal commitments if the United States lifts all sanctions imposed on it.
“Iran will not begin its measures to return to JCPOA commitments until after all US sanctions have been lifted and verified,” the report said.
Talks resumed in Vienna on Tuesday.
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