Saudi tankers ship oil again in Bab Al-Mandeb

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General view of Saudi Aramco's Ras Tanura oil refinery and oil terminal in eastern Saudi Arabia. (REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah/File Photo)
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The Kingdom had temporarily stopped moving crude through the strait on July 25 after attacks by Houthi militias in Yemen on two oil tankers sent shockwaves through global energy markets. (File photo: AFP)
Updated 05 August 2018
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Saudi tankers ship oil again in Bab Al-Mandeb

  • Coalition takes ‘necessary measures’ to secure key Red Sea waterway
  • After Saudi Arabia halted shipments, the Houthis said they would also halt attacks in the Red Sea for two weeks to support peace efforts

DUBAI/LONDON:  Saudi Arabia has resumed oil shipments through the strategic Red Sea shipping lane of Bab Al-Mandeb.

The Kingdom had temporarily stopped moving crude through the strait on July 25 after attacks by Houthi militias in Yemen on two oil tankers sent shockwaves through global energy markets.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said: “The decision to resume oil shipment through the strait of Bab Al-Mandeb was made after the leadership of the coalition has taken necessary measures to protect the coalition states’ ships.”

The measures were taken “in co-ordination with the international community,” the minister said. 

Saudi Aramco also confirmed that shipping had resumed, effective immediately. “The company is careful to continue monitoring and evaluating the current situation in coordination with the relevant bodies and take all necessary procedures to ensure safety,” it said.

Saudi Arabia leads an Arab coalition against the Houthis to restore Yemen’s legitimate government, but the attacks on the tankers were the first time the conflict threatened to disrupt energy markets.

Houthis’ weapons hunt

The Bab Al-Mandeb strait is a narrow waterway connecting the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden in the Arabian Sea. 

After Saudi Arabia halted shipments, the Houthis said they would also halt attacks in the Red Sea for two weeks to support peace efforts.

The resumption of shipments through the waterway is good news for both consumers and oil companies who until now had been pondering the impact of either paying higher insurance premiums to use the channel or re-route exports around Africa.

Meanwhile, North Korea supplied weapons including ballistic missiles to the Houthis after a deal reached in Damascus in 2016, according to a report by a UN investigation team.

The report said Syrian arms trafficker Hussein Al-Ali offered “a range of conventional arms, and in some cases ballistic missiles to armed groups in Yemen and Libya.”


Iran anti-money laundering law faces challenge as deadline looms

Updated 18 August 2018
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Iran anti-money laundering law faces challenge as deadline looms

  • Iran has been trying to implement standards set by the Financial Action Task Force
  • Foreign businesses say legislation that includes FATF guidelines is essential if they are to increase investment

DUBAI: A top Iranian constitutional body has demanded changes to anti-money laundering measures passed by parliament, state-run media said on Saturday, as Tehran nears a deadline to pass legislation to help it attract investment while facing USsanctions.
Iran has been trying to implement standards set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental organization which underpins regimes combatting money laundering and terrorist financing. It hopes it will be removed from a blacklist that makes some foreign investors reluctant to deal with it.
In June, FATF said Iran had until October to complete the reforms or face consequences that could further deter investors from the country, which has already been hit by the return of US sanctions. {nL5N1UY39D]
Hard-liners in parliament have opposed legislation aimed at moving toward compliance with FATF standards, arguing it could hamper Iranian financial support for allies such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which the United States has classified as a terrorist organization.
The Guardian Council, which vets legislation passed by parliament for compliance with the constitution, objected to four items in the anti-money laundering amendments and returned the measure to parliament, spokesman Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei was quoted by the judiciary’s news agency Mizan as saying.
Kadkhodaei did not give details of the four items, according to Mizan.
Earlier this month, the Guardian Council approved legal amendments on combating the funding of terrorism.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in June parliament should pass legislation to combat money laundering according to its own criteria.
Foreign businesses say legislation that includes FATF guidelines is essential if they are to increase investment.