United States Government Pressures Panama to Halt the Passage of Ships Connected To Iran

On March 13, 2024, a United States official called on Panama to prohibit sanctioned Iranian vessels from flying its flag.

“Iran and actors related to Iran are trying to evade sanctions here in Panama. They’re trying to abuse Panama’s flag registry,” stated Abram Paley, the US Deputy Special Envoy for Iran, on March 13. 

The request was made while Paley was visiting Panama, which he said had the goal of ensuring “Panama’s shipping registry and jurisdiction is not abused by entities attempting to evade our sanctions on Iran.” 

Paley continued by noting that 6 vessels that broke US sanctions have beared the Panamanian flag since the start of 2024. 

“We expect that the Panamanian government will continue to work with us based on their domestic laws and international obligations,” he stated. 

Panama is the largest ship registration center in the globe. North of 8,000 vessels sail under the Panamanian flag, which represent roughly 16% of the global fleet.

Furthermore, Panama is the number one global provider of “flags of convenience,” which grant shipowners and shipping companies the power to register vessels in nations in which they have no connection to. 

In January of 2023, the Panamanian maritime authority pulled off its flag from north of 130 Iranian connected vessels at the US’s request.

American authorities have called on Panama not to assist Iran circumvent US sanctions on the sale of Iranian oil. 

Iranian military vessels were allowed to sail through the Panama Canal in February 2023, which alarmed American authorities. 

The US has confiscated multiple shipments of Iranian oil in the last few years on the grounds that it is allegedly enforcing American sanctions against Iran. 

In response, Iran has blamed the US for carrying out “maritime piracy” on top of accusing the American government of assisting with the protection of illegal smugglers in the Persian Gulf. 

The US is clearly pursuing a punitive campaign against Iran, a campaign that has been multiple decades in the making. This is in large part due to the Zionist control of its federal government coupled with a Cold War-era plot for revenge for the hostage crisis of the Iranian Revolution (1979). 

In reality, Iran poses no threat to the US. Instead, the US should be focusing on securing its southern border with Mexico — the main geopolitical blind spot for the country. That will require a total overthrow of its political class.

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