Monday, July 02, 2012

Letter to President Kikwete

Howard Berman.

Dear President Kikwete,

I am writing to express my deep dismay that Tanzania has permitted the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), to reflag at least 6 and as many as 10 of its vessels under the Tanzanian ship registry, allowing them to remain under NITC ownership and continuing to transport Iran’s crude oil exports. This action by your government has the effect of assisting the Iranian regime in evading U.S. and EU sanctions and generating additional revenues for its nuclear enrichment and weapons research programs and its support for international terrorism.

It is profoundly disappointing to me to learn that your government has acted in contravention of the broad international coalition that is working together to use peaceful means, including economic sanctions, to change the threatening behavior of the Iranian regime. The decision to accept the re-flagging of NITC vessels casts a shadow over Tanzania’s international reputation.

I respectfully request that Tanzania cancel the re-flagging of the NITC vessels. Given the close and cooperative relationship that our two governments now enjoy, it would be unfortunate if this action were permitted to stand.

It would be preferable that Tanzania take this action of its own accord. However, your government should take note of President Obama’s Executive Order 13608, signed May 1, 2012, which provides for the imposition of sanctions on any entity worldwide, including foreign governments, that assists Iran in evading U.S. sanctions. In my view, reflagging Iranian oil tankers falls within the scope of sanctionable activity under that Executive Order. In addition, if Tanzania were to allow Iranian vessels to remain under Tanzanian registry, we in the Congress would have no choice but to consider whether to continue the range of bi-lateral U.S. programs with Tanzania.


Howard Berman
Ranking Democrat, House Foreign Affairs Committee

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