A senior official from Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) says it has not been officially informed of a reported move by Pakistani authorities to detain a tanker carrying Iranian oil into the neighboring country.
Hossein Abbasnejad said on Saturday that if any ship seizure involving Iran had taken place in Pakistan, the Pakistani authorities would have given Iran an official notice.
However, the official, who serves as head of PMO’s Maritime Affairs Department, did not deny reports in the Pakistani media that an Iranian-flagged ship had been detained off Karachi’s Port Qasim allegedly because the ship was violating US sanctions against Iran.
“The country of Pakistan has not issued an official notice to us as the country having the tanker registered under its flag about confiscation of the ship,” Abbasnejad told the semi-official Fars news agency.
The comments came a day after Pakistani newspaper the Express Tribune cited a senior Pakistani senator as claiming that an Iranian ship had been detained while trying to smuggle oil into Pakistan using forged documents.
Abdul Rehman Malik, who chairs the Pakistani Senate’s Standing Committee on Interior, said that it was an American watchdog that first informed Islamabad that it should take legal action against the Iranian ship.
Malik said that the ship had used forged papers to smuggle oil into Pakistan, a claim he said was based on media reports published in the country.
Since withdrawing from an international deal on Iran’s nuclear activity in 2018, the United States has been pressing countries around the world to stop buying Iranian oil.
Although the sanctions have affected the demand for Iranian oil, American officials have largely failed to stop oil cargoes that have set off from Iranian ports to deliver crude and other oil products to customers around the world.