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As stricter sanctions from the European Union (EU) are pressuring Tehran to abandon its nuclear program, they also threaten to force Iran's flagship cargo shipping line out of Europe. Past efforts have failed to accomplish this task.
The Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) carry about one third of the nation's dry bulk and container seaborne trade. They are also no stranger to EU sanctions, as they faced a similar situation in 2010 for an alleged role in smuggling banned weapons. However, since then, 23 ships have managed to visit 12 ports throughout the EU almost 150 times, according to a Reuters special report. These occurrences include 96 trips to Malta, 14 to Antwerp, and 10 to Rotterdam.
Two EU countries still provide the majority of the firm's fleet with flags of convenience. Malta flags 48 of the vessels, and Cyprus does so with 12 out of the 144 total IRISL ships.
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