Publishe Date: 8:20 PM - 9/11/2012 | Print

Iran Ready to Insure Foreign Vessels

Economy - President of Iran's Bimeh Markazi, (Central Insurance of the Islamic Republic of Iran) Seyed Mohammad Karimi said the country's insurers are ready to offer coverage to ships traversing through Iranian waters.

"Iran will provide insurance for all vessels lacking insurance in Iran's (territorial) waters," Karimi told reporters in the Northwestern city of Tabriz on Tuesday.

"Fortunately, the Iranian insurance companies did well in providing necessary coverage for Iranian oil tankers and airplanes (despite the western sanctions) and even we have announced that we can provide insurance cover for foreign vessels in Iranian waters if approved by the oil and commerce ministries," he added.

There are 25 insurance companies in Iran today and all except one are privately owned.

Karimi's remarks came after the EU stopped insuring tankers carrying Iran's oil as part of its sanctions against Iranian crude sales.

In relevant remarks on Monday, Karimi downplayed the effects of enemies' sanctions on Iran's Insurance Industry, and said the country's insurance industry is earning hundreds of millions of dollars since the EU banned Iran's oil cargos.

"The illegal sanctions imposed on Iran's insurance industry are ineffective, and domestic insurance companies have insured oil tankers and petrochemicals carrying vessels up to the highest international standards," he said.

Karimi also said a consortium of Iranian insurance agencies is providing P&I (protection and indemnity) insurance to the Iranian tankers.

He further pointed to Iran's saved $700mln as a result of US ban on marine insurance coverage for Iran-bound oil tankers and said, "The sanctions have caused a big leap in Iran's insurance industry and currently domestic insurance companies are faring well in insuring oil tankers besides refineries and power plants."

"Domestic insurance companies are ready to provide coverage to foreign tankers operating in Iran's waters after the necessary permit is obtained from Iran's Oil Ministry and good negotiations are underway with the Oil Ministry to that effect," he added.

In relevant remarks a couple of months ago , a senior Iranian official voiced Iran's preparedness to provide insurance cover for all foreign and Iranian ships and oil tankers, in a move to push back the US-engineered EU embargos against Tehran, and said Iran has managed to break Europe's monopoly on the shipping insurance industry.

"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," Managing Director of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines Mohammad Hossein Dajmar told FNA.

"Before this, 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 government's cooperation," he added.

The EU imposed a full embargo on Iranian oil imports and insuring tankers which carry Iranian oil from July 1.

Washington and its Western allies accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear program, while they have never presented any corroborative evidence to substantiate their allegations. Iran denies the charges and insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

Tehran stresses that the country has always pursued a civilian path to provide power to the growing number of Iranian population, whose fossil fuel would eventually run dry.

Despite the rules enshrined in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) entitling every member state, including Iran, to the right of uranium enrichment, Tehran is now under four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions for turning down West's calls to give up its right of uranium enrichment.

Tehran has dismissed the West's demand as politically tainted and illogical, stressing that sanctions and pressures merely consolidate Iranians' national resolve to continue the path.

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