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RPT-EXCLUSIVE-How Iran fuel oil exports beat U.S. sanctions in tanker odyssey to Asia

RPT-EXCLUSIVE-How Iran fuel oil exports beat U.S. sanctions in tanker odyssey to Asia

SINGAPORE/BAGHDAD/TRIPOLI, : At least two tankers have ferried Iranian fuel oil to Asia in recent months despite U.S. sanctions against such shipments, according to a Reuters analysis of ship-tracking data and port information, as well as interviews with brokers and traders.

The shipments were loaded onto tankers with documents showing the fuel oil was Iraqi. But three Iraqi oil industry sources and Prakash Vakkayil, a manager at United Arab Emirates (UAE) shipping services firm Yacht International Co, said the papers were forged.

The people said they did not know who forged the documents, nor when.

The transfers show at least some Iranian fuel oil is being traded despite the reimposition of sanctions in November 2018, as Washington seeks to pressure Iran into abandoning nuclear and missile programmes. They also show how some traders have revived tactics that were used to skirt sanctions against Iran between 2012 and 2016. (reut.rs/2NF1fTK)

“Some buyers…will want Iranian oil regardless of U.S. strategic objectives to deny Tehran oil revenue, and Iran will find a way to keep some volumes flowing,” said Peter Kiernan, lead energy analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

While the United States has granted eight countries temporary waivers allowing limited purchases of Iranian crude oil, these exemptions do not cover products refined from crude, including fuel oil, mainly used to power the engines of large ships.