Tanzania says investigating Iran tankers accusation

DAR ES SALAAM Thu Jul 5, 2012 6:37am EDT

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DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - Tanzania is looking into U.S. accusations it has reflagged oil tankers from Iran and would strip the vessels of the east African country's flag if that proved to be the case, the foreign minister said on Thursday.

Howard Berman, the ranking member of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, has accused Tanzania of reflagging at least six and possibly as many at 10 tankers, saying it was helping Iran evade U.S. and European Union sanctions aimed at pressuring Tehran to curb its nuclear programme.

He said Tanzania could face U.S. sanctions for the practice.

"If it is confirmed that the ships flying Tanzania's flag are indeed from Iran, we will take steps to deliberately obliterate the registration," Foreign Affairs Minister Bernard Membe told reporters.

Membe called on the United States and the European Union to cooperate with Tanzania to verify the origin of the oil tankers flying the east African country's flag.

Berman said the tankers were owned by the National Iranian Tanker Company.

"Tanzania is taking this investigation very seriously to verify whether or not Iranian ships are really using our flag," Membe said.

On Wednesday, Tanzania's neighbor Kenya cancelled an agreement to import 4 million metric tons (4.41 million tons) of Iranian crude oil per year because of sanctions against Iran.

(Reporting by Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala; Editing by David Clarke and Alessandra Rizzo)

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Comments (2)
HollywoodJeff wrote:
A number of years ago, Rep. Berman bragged to a predominantly Jewish audience in his district, which can be found elsewhere online, that his reason for running for Congress had been to help Israel. He wasn’t the first to do so, and do so openly, to a friendly audience, nor, unfortunately, the first to keep his commitment. Since the Iraq invasion. he has been the leading member of the House, regardless of party, admittedly, powerful competition, to bring down Iran, Israel’s current major target, despite the risk that it would push the global economy, including that of the US, over the edge.

Not only, as this article reveals, has Iran had to pay for Israel’s and America’s belligerent designs on a country which has never attacked either one, but every other country throughout the world, including America’s allies, are subject to punishing sanctions from Washington, written by AIPAC and sponsored by Berman, and if found to be in violation of US law regarding trading with Iran. Is there any question why those knowledgeable on the subject consider Washington to be Israel’s most important occupied territory?

Jul 05, 2012 4:14pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Marchal wrote:
Are these sanctions for the benefit of USA? I do not think so. Is really USA is threatened by Iran to the degree that it has become completely paranoid, hysteric and insane?
Then, Iran is more of a super power than the then Soviet Union and even USA itself! It is degrading for America to think so big of a small country like Iran.
USA has never bullied even countries like Tanzania because of fear of any country in the world. Now it does. It means America is a paper tiger, it is a bloody colonized country just like any dirty, third world country. Saudi Arabia is better than USA because it can stand up to Iran and USA!

Jul 06, 2012 10:50am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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