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Iran offers end-run around European insurance

Editor’s Note: The following report is excerpted from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium online newsletter published by the founder of WND. Subscriptions are $99 a year or, for monthly trials, just $9.95 per month for credit card users, and provide instant access for the complete reports.

WASHINGTON – Iran now has gotten into the insurance business, offering the service to foreign ships and oil tankers denied insurance due to the U.S. and European Union embargoes against Tehran, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

The E.U. sanctions effectively halted European insurers from offering coverage for ships transporting Iranian oil.

“The sanction imposed by the foreign insurance firms made us launch Iranian insurance of P&I and this has been gifted to us by the sanctions,” said Mohammad Hossein Dajmar, managing director of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines.

“Before this,” he added, “the Europeans had the monopoly of shipping insurances and a few number of countries owned the insurance firms and coverage but we have now succeeded in starting Iranian shipping insurance through [the] government’s cooperation.”

Iranian officials said that full coverage insurance would be issued not only for Iranian but foreign oil tankers as well.

“Buyers of Iran’s oil have two options,” according to Mohammad Ali Khatibi, director of the National Iranian Oil Company, or NIOC. “They can either use their own tankers to ship the purchased oil or they can hand over this task to the Iranian fleet.”

He indicated that all risks and hazards would be covered by Iranian insurance companies.

Iranian NIOC officials say that oil shipments will continue uninterrupted to major Iranian customers in Asia including China, India, Japan and South Korea.

Iranian officials said that a consortium of internal insurance companies would be led by the Bimeh Iran insurance company. It will provide insurance coverage for oil tankers which export Iranian crude and oil derivatives.

In a related development, Iran has offered $1 billion insurance on oil tankers to South Korea. Hyundai Oilbank and SK Innovation are reportedly considering Iran’s offer.

Both companies imported crude oil from Iran until the E.U. sanctions went into effect July 1, which cut off insurance on Iranian crude shipments.

Company officials said that they are considering using the ships of NITC, or the National Iranian Tanker Company, and that the South Korean government finds the Iranian proposal “acceptable.”

Indian companies similarly will continue to transport Iranian crude despite the E.U. sanctions. The Indian shipping firms haven’t ruled out using Iran’s insurance offer, although they are asking Indian insurers to provide up to $50 million in liability coverage for each tanker.

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