Tuvalu government to deregister Iranian-linked ships

WASHINGTON (JTA) – The Tuvalu government has agreed to deregister any Iranian-linked vessel following pressure from the United States, New Zealand and Australia.

The Tuvalu Ship Registry issued a statement late last week saying it has been notified by its government to deregister the National Iranian Tanker Company’s vessels that carry the South Pacific island government’s flag. The work has begun and is expected “to be completed in the shortest time practicable.”

The owners of a ship are masked when that ship carries the flag of a different country.

Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Calif.) on Tuesday applauded Tuvalu’s actions, noting, “Iran is learning the hard way that we will not relent in applying crippling sanctions on the regime, and others are learning that evading international sanctions is a losing strategy.”

In a statement to JTA, Berman wrote, “This reversal by Tuvalu effectively stops these Iranian tankers from operating, denying the Iranian regime oil revenues it desperately is seeking to fund its nuclear weapons program and support of terrorism.”

In July, Tuvalu had issued a public statement that it would not comply with an international request to deregister these vessels, according to Berman

Tuvalu is the fourth government to cancel Iranian ship registrations. Cyprus, Malta and Tanzania no longer will register Iranian-linked vessels.

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