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Iran Just Delivered 1M Barrels Of Oil To Fuel-Starved Syria By “Ghosting”

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Originally appeared at ZeroHedge

At a moment the Persian Gulf is heating up given the highest tensions and exchange of threats in years between the US and Iran, Tehran is running the high risk gambit of restarting its crude transfers to Syria.

A new CNBC report finds, “Tanker-tracking firms believe Iran is once again shipping crude oil to Syria, resuming the illicit trade as tensions with Washington rise and the Islamic Republic faces increasing international isolation.” Specifically a one million barrel delivery was reportedly made through the Syrian port of Baniyas in early May, the first since the end of 2018, according to TankerTrackers.com and ClipperData.

Iran Just Delivered 1M Barrels Of Oil To Fuel-Starved Syria By "Ghosting"

Image via FleetMon Maritime News

Washington has in recent months ramped up targeted sanctions against Syrian oil imports, causing the worse fuel crisis in Syria’s modern history, resulting in a “lifeless” and “decimated economy” with cars lined up for miles, sometimes waiting for days for a simple gas fill-up, as one Bloomberg on the ground report recently described.

Ironically even after seven years of massive bloodshed, as the government has emerged victorious, it is only now with relative stability and ensuing calm over most of the country that an “economic siege” has hit the population with full force.

Damascus even during some of the worst years of war was always a bustling traffic-packed economic center for its six million inhabitants, but as we noted previously the country has been plunged into a fuel crisis that is the result of new US-led oil sanctions targeting Damascus and Tehran. As one recent WSJ report put itIranian oil deliveries to Syria have “fallen off a cliff” since January.

Given that Iran said Wednesday it now plans to stop compliance with key parts of the 2015 nuclear deal, citing that it’s running out of patience with European signatories of the JCPOA as its economy faces decimation by US sanctions, its close ally Syria will be a remaining key offload point for Iranian crude, along with Iran’s neighbor Iraq, as Tehran has also stated its intent to flout US sanctions.

Washington has recently vowed to cut off both Iranian exports and any and all Syrian imports of crude by force. “Analysts have widely predicted that Iran will step up efforts to smuggle oil into Syria and neighboring Iraq as the U.S. makes it more difficult for Tehran to ship oil to its few remaining customers, including China, India and Turkey,” the CNBC report found.

It appears Iran’s latest Syria crude delivery was accomplished by “ghosting” – which involves tankers switching off their transponders.

Describing the Iranian oil tanker Masal, the vessel’s trackers found that after departing Turkey:

However, the tanker eventually went offline, switching off its transponder near the Syrian shoreline. According to TankerTrackers and ClipperData, the Masal didn’t come back online until May 7, at which point it had unloaded its cargo near the port of Baniyas where Syria’s largest refinery is located. It then began making its way back to Iran.

Regional reports have noted that in recent days the fuel crisis in Syria has found some relief due to the covert Iranian shipment arriving last week.

Meanwhile, the WSJ reported previously that Iranian oil had been routinely delivered to Syria throughout most of the war, but now “U.S. sanctions have cut off Iranian oil shipments to Syria, taking an unprecedented toll on a flow of crude that had persisted in the face of long-term international restrictions and helped sustain the Assad regime through years of civil war.”

The White House still fundamentally prioritizes weakening Syria as crucial in its ultimate goal of regime change in Tehran. In this sense, the “long war” for Syria could merely be in its middle phase, with the waters in both the East Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf heating up.

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  • Rob

    Trump is an abu baker al baghdadi terrorist. He is a child butcher.

    • You can call me Al

      You have just stated that above and you sounded stupid then – “so shit you said it twice” ?.

    • Brother Ma

  • Lazy Gamer

    What would Iran’s countermeasures be if someone seizes its ships?

    • Sinbad2

      The US won’t seize an Iranian ship, they are too scared Iran would shut the Persian Gulf.
      The US is technically insolvent, even a week without the petrodollars flowing into American banks would destroy the US dollar.

      • Brother Ma

        Can’t it just cant print more dollars and run off its own people ie autarky if this happens until it “wins” the war to bring back its own currency?

        • goingbrokes

          Things are more edgy than that, that is, printing more dollars is not going to save anything this time. Shutting off Persian Gulf would crash every western economy by rising fuel price, and crash the Fed Reserve dollar as the world currency. Nobody would want it. the dollar would plummet and US would have an internal revolution in its hands. That’s how bad it is.

        • FlorianGeyer

          I suppose it could ,but historically, whenever a currency is debased and the public become aware of this, hyper inflation is the result.

          The hyper inflation genie is impossible to push back inti the bottle.

    • Aussiebob

      Target Israel’s shipping! Or close all water ways around the Gulf!

  • Rob

    Trump is Abu baker al baghdadi a global terrorist but the impotent leaders of the world have no clear strategy to face it.

  • Nowruz

    Well done, Iran! May God bless you.

  • Rob

    If Turkey have not received S-400 air defence system from Russia soon then Turkey will be soon kneeled by Trump. F-35 and F-22 have US computer which cannot defend Turkey.

  • georgeking

    Iran needs to send navel armed escorts or subs with its tankers.

  • FlorianGeyer

    Its time for countries such as China, India,Russia etc, to use their own tankers, or re-flagged Iranian and Venezuelan tankers, to transport the oil of their allies.

    If the craven regime of the USA and her vassals push further toward WW3, so be it.
    ALL of these US predator nations would then suffer the devastation that they happily inflict on those who will not kneel before them.

  • Sinbad2

    Notice how America always targets the poor, and never the leadership.
    In Iraq Saddam lived like a King while the US targeted Iraqi children and killed half a million of them.
    In North Korea the US is targeting North Korean workers trying to feed their families.

    Now here in Syria, it’s not Assad they go after, but the ordinary guy on the street.

    What is wrong with America, is it a disease, the devil what?

    • Jim Bim

      What is wrong with America?
      Very simple….the US is evil….just look at its history

    • verner

      and the ever evil squatter madeleine albright felt it was reasonable that half a million iraqi kids died.

    • FlorianGeyer

      ” What is wrong with America, is it a disease, the devil what?”

      Zionism is the American plague that is destroying the good people of the USA as every day passes.

      Until a cure for Zionism can be found there is little hope for any part of the world that Zionism infects.

    • Enver Hoxha

      Cowardly is what you are looking for

  • Brad Golding

    Viva Iran!!!

  • FreePalestine_BDS

    What is “illicit” about this??? It seems to me that US sanctions are illicit.

  • Sinbad2

    The US has successfully intimidated Pakistan into not accepting the Iranian gas it so badly needs.
    Appeasement does not work, the world needs to stand together against American tyranny.

  • Floyd Hazzard

    Illicit trade? So is trading illegal now because one country doesn’t approve? What utter nonsense!

    • Aussiebob

      My thoughts exactly! Poorly written article!

  • Aussiebob

    This is a poorly written price by South front! Just because America has bans on Iran oil doesn’t mean there oil transportation to Syria is illegal!!