Date: 1 Aug 2022
The Wall Street Journal has published an article on 31 July 2022 linking AMPTC with the illegal smuggling of Iranian oil in breach of sanctions. It refers to Aissot, a company which is in fact wholly owned by AMPTC, although this information is omitted from the article – instead, referring to Aissot as a “joint venture between the state-owned Iraqi Oil Tanker Company “ IOTC “ and Arab Maritime Petroleum Transport Company, whose primary owners include several Gulf countries”. Principally the article quotes unidentified sources as allegedly saying that the joint venture “was really a vehicle to help Iran export oil”. The article also quotes an unidentified source as saying, “the real bread and butter of the business was the five to ten percent of Iranian oil exports….” It also alleges that “Iranians have an ownership interest in Aissot”.
These allegations are untrue. Firstly, Aissot is not itself a “joint venture”. It is a company owned by AMPTC which was established to service a joint venture between AMPTC and IOTC. Secondly, the joint venture was never a “vehicle to help Iran export oil”. It was set up to help Iraq export its oil. There has been to AMPTC’s knowledge no smuggling of Iranian oil by Aissot. Iranians do not have an ownership interest in Aissot.
AMPTC is a long-established and respectable company owned by the governments of nine OAPEC States. It takes its sanctions obligations very seriously. It is regrettable that the Wall Street journal has fallen below the journalistic standards that might be expected of them by permitting such a story to be published.