EU Should Impose Port Access Ban On Panama-Flagged Tankers

(New York, N.Y.) — United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) CEO Ambassador Mark D. Wallace released the following statement today calling upon the EU to impose a port access ban on Panama-flagged tankers following the Panama’s Maritime Authority (AMP)’s inaccurate and deceptive response to charges that it is complicit in the Iranian regime’s schemes to smuggle oil using foreign-flagged vessels.  

“The evidence that Iran is using a global fleet of foreign-flagged vessels to evade sanctions so it can fund terrorism, crackdown on dissent, and build up its military and nuclear capabilities is undeniable. UANI has built one of the most comprehensive databases of these vessels in the world, and our work to document smuggling activities has led to specific action by responsible flag states, classification societies, and P&I clubs. AMP has chosen a different course and irresponsibly continues to flag 39 percent of Iran’s Ghost Armada.

“Equally clear is Iran’s provision of lethal weaponry to the Russian military for use in the commission of war crimes in Ukraine and the direct line between illicit oil revenues and the rapid advancement of the Islamic Republic’s military UAV program and ballistic missile program. Between 2020 and 2022, as oil revenues surged, so did Iran’s military budget.

“For the sake of international peace and security, the EU should impose a port access ban on Panama-flagged vessels, just as it imposed a port access ban on Russian vessels to slow Vladimir Putin’s war machine. This would help accomplish what the AMP refuses to do: choke off Russia’s most critical military partner, Iran, by breaking up its ability to smuggle oil. 

Last week, UANI Advisory Board member Governor Jeb Bush published an op-ed in the Washington Post calling attention to Panama’s unwillingness to de-flag more than 100 vessels documented to be suspected of having carried Iranian oil in violation of U.S. sanctions and urging the U.S. to add each to its list of Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs).

To read Governor Bush’s op-ed, “How The U.S. Can Stop Panama From Helping Iran Avoid Oil Sanctions,” please click here. 

To read UANI’s blog Stop the Hop II: The Ghost Armada Grows, please click here.