U.S. Rep. Howard L. Berman, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement after the Government of Tuvalu announced that its ship registry office de-registered some two dozen Iranian oil tankers owned by the National Iranian Tanker Corporation (NITC).
"This reversal by Tuvalu effectively stops these Iranian tankers from operating, denying the Iranian regime oil revenues it desperately is seeking to fund its nuclear weapons program and support of terrorism," said U.S. Rep. Howard Berman. "Iran is learning the hard way that we will not relent in applying crippling sanctions on the regime, and others are learning that evading international sanctions is a losing strategy."
Berman had written to the Tuvalu Prime Minister on July 9th to urge that the Iranian tankers be de-registered. On July 17th, Tuvalu issued a public statement that it would not comply. On August 13th, three days after enactment of a new round of U.S. sanctions on countries that assist Iran's oil trade, Berman wrote to Secretary of State Clinton and Treasury Secretary Geithner urging that the new sanctions authority be used to pressure Tuvalu to cancel the Iranian vessel registrations.
Berman's actions were paralleled by a coordinated effort by the U.S., New Zealand, and Australian governments to convince Tuvalu to drop the Iranian tankers. Tuvalu is the fourth government to cancel Iranian ship registrations, following earlier actions by Cyprus, Malta and Tanzania.