LONDON - Iran's seaborne trade is withering as sanctions are stepped up against the Islamic Republic, freezing bank finance and deterring many international trade and shipping companies from getting involved in deals, industry sources say.
Much of Iran's imports, including food and consumer goods, are transported by sea via container and bulker ships. Oil tankers are used to ferry the country's vital crude oil exports.
But US financial sanctions imposed since the beginning of this year to punish Tehran over its nuclear program are playing havoc with Iran's ability to buy imports and receive payment for its oil exports.
"Tougher sanctions are putting the squeeze on major Iranian commercial institutions," said Alan Fraser of security firm AKE.
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