A report by Iran’s official IRNA news agency has denied there was any direct link between the country and an oil tanker fire that took place on Friday in the Far East.
The Saturday report by IRNA said neither the tanker that had caught fire near China a day earlier nor its crude oil cargo were related to Iran.
“IRNA has learnt from informed sources that this oil tanker does not belong to Iran and the only possibility is that its cargo belongs to one of Iran’s customers,” said the report, suggesting that the cargo had been sold by Iran to an intermediary for delivery to a final customer.
The statement comes after some media outlets claimed a tanker carrying half a million barrels of Iranian oil had caught fire near China’s shores on Friday in an incident that was not widely reported.
Shipment tracking service Tanker Trackers said on Twitter that the crew of the foreign-flagged tanker had quickly extinguished the fire.
Reports have indicated that Iran normally uses go-betweens to get round sanctions imposed by the United States on its oil sales since 2018.
That has allowed Iran to keep exports flowing despite relentless efforts by Washington to deprive the country of vital oil revenues.
Unconfirmed data published earlier this month showed that Iranian crude exports had stayed above 1 million barrels per day at least for the last three months.
Experts say the increased exports have given Iran the upper hand in indirect talks with the US in Vienna that are meant to revive a 2015 deal on Iran’s nuclear program.