Japan's Diet (Parliament) has enacted a law to provide compensation for accidents involving tankers transporting crude oil from Iran, a move to counter European Union sanctions banning insurance on shipments of Iranian oil.
The law, unanimously passed by the Upper House of the Diet on Wednesday, allows the government to pay up to $7.6 billion in compensation to Japanese shipping companies for losses from accidents involving tankers transporting Iranian oil. Companies will be eligible for the compensation after paying fees to the government, Japan's NHK broadcaster reported.
Shipping companies that operate oil tankers typically seek insurance policies from Japanese or European insurers for coverage in the case of oil spills or other serious accidents. But, concerns have been growing about Japan's oil imports from Iran after the European Union announced the plan to ban tanker insurance starting July 1. The government plans to enforce the law from June 27, ahead of the start of the EU sanctions.
The EU and many other countries, including the United States, have imposed several round of sanctions on Iran to force it to give up its controversial nuclear program which the West suspects was aimed at developing atomic weapons. But, Tehran insists that it has every right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purpose as long as it continued to be a signatory to the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The stand-off continues despite several round of talks on the issue.
by RTT Staff Writer
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