Iranian ships seized in Singapore freed: minister

21:34, January 05, 2011      

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Three Iranian vessels impounded in Singapore due to "financial problems" have been freed, the English language satellite Press TV reported.

"Iranian ships, which were seized in Singapore because of the financial problems caused by the Westerners were released," Iranian Commerce Minister Mehdi Ghazanfari was quoted as saying Wednesday.

The vessels were freed after their loans were paid off, he said.

According to the media, French Credit Agricole Corporate &Investment Bank seized the Iranian ships, named Tochal, Sahand and Sabalan, in Singapore last year "to recover 110 million U.S. dollars on a 235-million U.S. dollar loan" which was arranged four years ago by an Iranian demand.

In December, the Chairman of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), Mohammad Dajmar, said, "We had a loan (on the vessels) and (the French bank) changed it from a loan to a due (payment) because of sanctions. In other words, they committed a violation because the loan contract was signed before the sanctions," according to Press TV.

The restriction imposed on Iran due to its nuclear issue bars the country's regular access to the international financial system and makes it difficult for Iran to pay its loans and maintain insurance coverage on its ships.

Source: Xinhua
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