Iran is helping Russia evade sanctions, researchers claim

Iran is helping Russia circumvent sanctions by using its ‘ghost armada’ to transport the Kremlin’s oil, researchers claim

  • Researchers say Kremlin-linked companies are transporting oil on Iranian ships
  • Non-profit United Against Nuclear Iran is urging the west to launch a crackdown
  • It comes after it was revealed Iran used the fleet to evade sanctions against itself

Iran’s ‘ghost armada’ of sanction-busting ships has been accused of helping Russian oil firms to circumvent sanctions.

Kremlin-linked companies are transporting oil in Tehran’s fleet of black-market vessels to overcome US, UK and EU bans on Russian oil exports, according to researchers from United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), an inter-national non-profit organisation.

They are now urging Western allies to form a ‘ghostbusters’ team to crack down on the ships allegedly helping Vladimir Putin to bankroll his war machine.

The Mail on Sunday revealed last year how Iran used a fleet of up to 123 vessels, using techniques such as ‘spoofing’ and ‘flag hopping’, to evade international trade sanctions against the Middle East nation. 

A ship passes in front of the business tower Lakhta Centre, the headquarters of Russian energy corporation Gazprom in St Petersburg. There are concerns a ‘ghost armada’ of Iranian ships is helping Russia bypass oil sanctions

The vessels ‘spoof’ their real location on GPS transponders so they appear to be anchored at sea when they are loading and unloading at ports. 

They also use different nations’ flags to confuse authorities along with fake documentation.

UANI now claims to have identified at least five of Iran’s ‘ghost armada’ transporting oil from Russia to China and India.

Sir Ivor Roberts, a UANI adviser and former head of counter-terrorism at the Foreign Office, said: ‘Putin’s Russia has taken a leaf from Iran’s playbook with the employment of the Ayatollah’s “ghost armada” to transport oil around the globe.

‘This is increasingly a necessity for the Kremlin-backed oil companies which need to keep the money flowing into Russia.

‘The alliance opposed to Russia needs to get a grip on this trade if we’re to bring Putin to the negotiating table.’

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