Brazil’s state oil company denies fuel to two Iranian ships

|     Marcelo Silva De Sousa     |

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – Brazil’s state oil company has refused to supply two Iranian ships anchored in the southern port of Paraná because they belong to a company sanctioned by the United States (US).

Petrobras said in a statement on Friday that the Iranian ships, which were hired by an export-import company, appear on a list of the US government’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

“If Petrobras supplies the ships, it runs the risk of being sanctioned and included on the same list and suffer serious harm,” the statement said.

In addition, Petrobras said, the ships arrived from Iran transporting urea, which is subject to sanctions by the US. Urea is used in manufacturing fertiliser, which is important for Brazil’s big agriculture sector, but it also is an ingredient for explosives.

“Brazilian companies were warned by us of that problem (US sanctions on Iran) and are at risk in that sense,” President Jair Bolsonaro said when asked about the ships by journalists in Brasilia, the capital.

Bolsonaro noted that he is getting “increasingly” close to US President Donald Trump, who pulled the US out of the Iran nuclear deal with world powers last year and imposed economic sanctions on Tehran.

Iran is one of the main buyers of Brazilian agricultural products. The Tehran government has not publicly commented on the matter.

Petrobras said there were other fuel companies in Paraná that could supply the Iranian ships. It did not provide the name of the export-import company that hired the vessels or say where the firm is based.

The Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had limited its involvement to providing information to Petrobras.