Iran warns Brazil over stranded ship barred from refueling

TEHRAN, Jul. 24 (MNA) – Iran has threatened to cut its imports from Brazil unless it allows the refueling of at least two Iranian ships stranded off the Brazilian coast.

according to Bloomberg, Iran’s ambassador in Brasilia, Seyed Ali Saghaeyan, told Brazilian officials on Tuesday that his country could easily find new suppliers of corn, soybeans and meat if the South American country refuses to permit the refueling of the vessels. Brazil exports around $2 billion to Iran a year, mostly commodities like corn, meat and sugar. Tehran buys one third of all Brazil’s corn exports.

“I told the Brazilians that they should solve the issue, not the Iranians,” Saghaeyan said in a rare interview at the Iranian Embassy in Brasilia. “If it’s not solved, maybe the authorities in Tehran may want to take some decision because this is a free market and other countries are available.”

State-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA refuses to supply the ships -- which have been floating for over a month off the port of Paranagua, about 450 kilometers (280 miles) south of Sao Paulo -- due to the risk of US sanctions. Petrobras has said it was a business decision and other companies could sell fuel to the vessels. Without the fuel, the ships carrying Brazilian corn are unable to return to Iran. While Brazil has a long history of good relations with Tehran, President Jair Bolsonaro’s commitment to ripping up the country’s traditional foreign policy has put those ties in doubt.

To resolve the stand-off, Iran is considering sending fuel to the stranded ships, although this option would take longer and prove costly, Saghaeyan said.

“Independent and big countries like Brazil and Iran should work together without interference from any third part or country,” he added.

The number of Iranian vessels stranded at Brazilian ports is increasing thanks to the US-led sanctions under which Brazilian state oil firm Petrobras refuses to supply bunker fuel for the Iranian vessels.

ZZ/PR

News Code 148027

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