Iran’s Urea Exports to Brazil Continue

Despite U.S. determination to crack down on Iran’s petrochemical exports, which provide the second biggest source of revenue to the regime after oil, some companies and ports in Brazil continue to purchase Iranian petrochemicals.  

In particular, Iran continues to ship urea, a petrochemical product, on sanctioned Iranian vessels, to the Brazilian port of Imbituba. According to the Port of Imbituba webpage, two sanctioned Iranian bulk carriers, GOLAFRUZ and AMINA, will deliver urea to the Brazilian port on October 5 and October 14, respectively.  

Already at Imbituba having discharged its urea cargo is another sanctioned Iranian bulk carrier, GANJ, which has been in Brazil since early August. The vessel is currently at the Brazilian port of San Francisco Do Sul.

(Sources: Bloomberg L.P., Mapbox, OpenStreetMap)

These shipments follow a decision by Brazil’s top court in which state-run oil company Petrobras was ordered to refuel two Iranian vessels that previously discharged urea from Iran at the Port of Imbituba. Petrobras had previously denied service to these vessels, citing the risk of consequences from U.S. sanctions. According to Reuters, the Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernest Araujo told reporters in Brazil, “the legal process must be followed in the case, but Petrobras faces risks if it violates U.S. sanctions.” Clearly, the Brazilian judiciary is trumping any political or commercial concerns regarding the risk of U.S. scrutiny and Treasury enforcement for now. Given this Administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign, which recently caught two subsidiaries of the Chinese shipping giant COSCO in its wide net (COSCO Tanker and COSCO Management are now sanctioned), it seems unlikely the U.S. will ignore Brazil’s flouting of petrochemical imports for long.