Business Risk

China is principally responsible for keeping the Iranian regime in business through oil purchases that have totaled over $90 billion since President Biden assumed office in January 2021 to December 2023. Four in every five barrels of exported Iranian oil go to China. This is despite U.S. sanctions that were reimposed in 2019 and maintained under the present administration, with the stated aim of reducing Iranian oil exports to zero.

It’s no secret that the Islamic Republic of Iran’s support is critical in facilitating the activities of Hezbollah, one of its most powerful proxies.

The case of the Panama Maritime Authority’s re-flagging of vessels previously de-flagged by other nations due to Iran sanctions violations serves as a stark illustration of economic interests overshadowing ethical obligations. Notably, Panama is not only infamous for re-flagging but also for flagging vessels that violate sanctions. These decisions contradict the essence of the Registry Information Sharing Compact (RISC) agreement and, in turn, enable Iran’s illicit activities with devastating consequences that cannot be justified by financial gains.

In the wake of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Britain moved decisively against all Russian banks, freezing $336 billion (£258 billion) - a bigger assets freeze than any other country including the U.S.

Back in September 2019, the U.S. State Department announced sanctions on five Chinese companies for purchasing Iranian oil, including two entities owned by China Oil Shipping Company (“COSCO”), a Chinese state-owned shipping company headquartered in Shanghai.

UANI’s shipping campaign has been widely successful in compelling the world’s leading maritime classification societies to strip rogue ships of their certifications. Absent such accreditations guaranteeing a vessel’s seaworthiness, a tanker is barred from entry to foreign ports and may not secure insurance cover.

In August, Lebanon’s Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh announced an end to its fuel subsidies, which have drained the bank’s reserves since the country began descending into a financial crisis. The move, which was expected to cause already high fuel prices to quadruple, plunged Lebanon further into collapse.

It appears that many classification societies – which certify a vessel’s seaworthiness – are starting to heed last year’s official guidance on maritime malpractice and sanctions.

In its latest report the Swedish Security Service revealed that Iran is investing “large sums” in “conduct[ing] industrial espionage, which is primarily aimed at Swedish high-tech industry and Swedish products that can be used in nuclear weapons programs.”  The Iranians are “acting more offensively than before,” and their spy operations are taking place over many years, “even decades.” Yet major global Swedish companies, including firms that makes components us