BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:20 P.M.) – Syria’s Prime Minister Hussein Arnous announced on Sunday that seven Iranian oil tankers were intercepted en route to the Arab Republic.
According to Arnous, two of the oil tankers were intercepted in the Red Sea, which led to “the delay of their arrival for more than a month, and as a result of which the Banias refinery stopped production and a shortage in the quantities of oil derivatives required to meet the country’s needs.”
Arnous did not mention who were responsible for the “terrorist attacks” that delayed the arrival of two of the oil tankers, but he said five other vessels were intercepted in recent months, causing the country to witness another fuel shortage.
The Prime Minister said, as reported by Reuters, Syria has no choice but to import more crude oil to cover their fuel shortages, which he blamed on the U.S.-led sanctions against the Syrian Arab Republic.
“We have become dependent on imported oil and we have used up foreign currency in large amounts to pay for petroleum products,” Arnous told deputies in a speech to Parliament.
Since the start of U.S. President Donald Trump’s tenure in office, his administration has sought to prevent Iranian oil deliveries to countries like Syria and Venezuela, despite protests from Tehran about the freedom of navigation.
In 2020, the U.S. announced that they seized an Iranian oil tanker that was due to arrive in Venezuela; this led to its subsequent transport to a port off the coast of Texas.
It should be noted that Iran has denied that the ship belonged to their country, adding that the contents on the ship were already purchased and no longer in their possession when it was seized.