Iran’s Fars news agency has reported that an Iranian company was recently notified that a shipment of zeolite being sent from China had been intercepted by a US warship. The announcement has not yet been confirmed or refuted either by Chinese or US officials.
While such a development would give the Trump administration the ‘escalation’ in hostile moves against both countries that it has been seeking, it would also make US maritime shipping anywhere near both countries vulnerable to reciprocal measures.
“Few days ago, we received a letter saying that our ship has been seized by a US warship at the port of Qingdao, making delivery of the cargo to us under a question mark, which gave us a bad shock,” Peyman Bakhshandeh-Nejad, the CEO of Zist Tajhiz Danesh Pouya company in Iran, told FNA on Wednesday.
“To produce oxygen concentrators we need to import only one part which is zeolite and we are forced to purchase it from France and import it to the country through several middle parties,” he added, elaborating on the cargo.
He said that the ship which was carrying zeolite for manufacturing the oxygen concentrators for coronavirus patients was seized in the vicinity of Qingdao port in north eastern China, adding that the cargo could be used for the production of 4,000 to 5,000 oxygen concentrator systems to be used by the patients.
An oxygen concentrator is a device that concentrates the oxygen from a gas supply (typically ambient air) by selectively removing nitrogen to supply an oxygen-enriched product gas stream.
A pioneering knowledge-based company in Iran had also in April produced a special oxygen concentrator system which can be used by the coronavirus patients at home.
“Oxygen concentrator is the knowledge-based product of the company. When the lungs are not powerful enough to pump the necessary oxygen into the blood, the system can increase the purity of the lungs’ oxygen,” Ali Ebrahimi, the CEO of the company, said.
He added that the system has been manufactured in three versions for use at home, in central locations and a portable variant.
Ebrahimi said that one of the most important applications for the oxygen concentrator systems is for coronavirus patients who can use it at home without therefore the need to visit a hospital.
US-led sanctions related to Iran’s alleged nuclear aspirations have made the importation of vital hospital equipment and medicines extremely difficult. While the US has denied it is targeting vital medicines and staples like food, Iran has said that all international trade, and just as importantly the possibility of making financial arrangements for such transactions, are being blocked irrespective of the goods involved. LINK
In late May the US backed off from the extremely provocative, and illegal, interception of Iranian vessels carrying fuel headed to Venezuela after the Trump administration insinuated that it was considering intercepting the fuel shipments in international waters.
As yet there has been no confirmation or negation of the report either from China or the US.
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