US Sanctions Prevent Dozens of Ships Carrying Food from Reaching Iran

The ships cannot enter Iran due to payment issues

Dozens of merchant ships carrying grain and sugar are stuck outside Iranian ports due to payment issues as a result of Western sanctions, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

While US and other Western sanctions technically have exemptions for food and other humanitarian goods, the Reuters report said the “impact of the sanctions on Iran’s financial system have created complex and erratic payment arrangements with international companies.”

The payment issues have left 40 ships stuck outside Iranian ports, which are estimated to be holding about $1 billion worth of cargo. Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization said in November that ships off Iran were unable to unload due to “documentation and hard currency payment issues.”

Alena Douhan, a UN special rapporteur, issued a report in September detailing how US and other Western sanctions harm Iranians. She said since US sanctions were reimposed in 2018, food insecurity has “soared” in Iran, reaching 60% in certain areas.

Douhan said that the sanctions have “severely undermined” the delivery of medicine and medical goods to Iran. She said that licenses that are supposed to be issued by the US Office of Foreign Assets Control to ensure exemptions “appeared to be ineffective and nearly non-existent.”

There’s no sign that US sanctions on Iran will be lifted anytime soon, as video surfaced Tuesday of President Biden saying the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, is “dead.” Since JCPOA talks fell apart in September, the US has increased sanctions on Iran.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.