LONDON - Western sanctions imposed over the past months against Iran's shipping industry will seriously affect international maritime and environmental safety, a senior Iranian official said.

Companies are cutting ties with Iran's vital shipping sector, which transports most of its crude oil, for fear of losing lucrative US business.

Among them have been foreign ship classification societies that had certified safety and environmental standards for Iranian vessels - a requirement for insurance and access to ports.

"During the past months due to direct and indirect measures taken by some governments, unfair and undue restrictions have been imposed against Iran's commercial shipping industry," said Ali Akbar Marzban, Iran's deputy permanent representative at UN shipping agency the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

"We strongly believe that these measures undoubtedly would have an adverse impact on regional and international maritime safety, security and pollution prevention and would hamper relevant international co-operation," he said in a comments made at the IMO in London.

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