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i24NEWS:An Iranian tanker was captured leaking oil off the coast of the Syrian port of Banias, i24NEWS Defense Correspondent Matthias Inbar reported Tuesday afternoon, offering evidence that the Islamic Republic is violating US sanctions on its oil trade.
A photograph obtained from Intelli Times appears to reveal a trail of oil spilling from the tanker.
Just north of the coastal city of Banias is one of Syria’s largest oil refineries and power stations.
Trump slapped sanctions targeting Iranian crude oil in November 2018, the second round of punitive economic measures against the Islamic Republic.
Iran’s oil shipments tumbled to 750,000 barrels per day in April compared to 1.5 million in October, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Eight countries — India, China, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan — were given sanction waivers until the White House reined them in as part of a “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran.
But the Islamic Republic has continued sell its oil through “unconventional” means in order to bypass the sanctions.
The UK seized an Iranian oil tanker earlier in the month off the coast of Gibraltar, purportedly heading for Syria in violation of US and European sanctions.
Britain has thus far refused to release the tanker unless given guarantees that it is not bound for Syria, prompting Iran to retaliate by seizing a UK-flagged ship passing through the Strait of Hormuz.
Iran has insisted that its supertanker was not headed for Syria, calling the UK’s move “maritime robbery.”
The Trump administration imposed the first round of sanctions on Iran in August, 2018 after announcing its decision to pull out from the 2015 international deal that curbed Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.