September 25, 2023

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Iran applauds UN removal of oil from rusting vessel off Yemen coast

TEHRAN- The Iranian Foreign Ministry has lauded the United Nations for successfully transferring the oil from the FSO Safer supertanker to a new vessel and thereby preventing a humanitarian and environmental catastrophe.

In a statement on Monday, the ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said three years ago Iran had stated its willingness to voluntarily carry out the operation under the supervision of the United Nations at its own expense in order to avert an environmental disaster.

The Iranian official also restated Tehran’s position on resolving Yemen’s human tragedy peacefully.

The United Nations said on Friday it had completed the removal of more than 1 million barrels of oil from the decaying supertanker off Yemen’s Red Sea coast.

UN officials and activists had been warning for years that the entire Red Sea coastline was at risk, as the rusting tanker could have ruptured or exploded, spilling four times as much oil as the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster off Alaska.

“It is a major moment of having averted a potentially catastrophic disaster,” said Achim Steiner, administrator of the UN Development Programme, which coordinated complex efforts to remove the oil from the ship.

Salvage crews operated for 18 days in a coastal conflict zone riddled with sea mines, amid high summer temperatures and strong currents, to offload the oil from the vessel.

After the Saudi-led conflict began in 2015, the FSO Safer was abandoned off the Red Sea port of Hudaydah.

“Iran conducted various negotiations to put an end to the Safer oil tanker woe to prevent a potential environmental, humanitarian, and economic catastrophe for Yemen and the region,” Kanaani stated.

He expressed hope that the recent coordinated effort to end a humanitarian and environmental disaster could act as a springboard for tackling other humanitarian challenges, such as a total lifting of the Yemen embargo.

On June 21, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Amir Abdollahian, held talks with senior Omani officials in Muscat, discussing a wide variety of issues, including bringing political stability to Yemen and establishing lasting peace in the country.

Amir Abdollahian and his Omani counterpart Sayyid Badr Albusaidi discussed a wide range of topics.

Additionally, the Iranian foreign minister spoke with Sultan bin Mohammed al Numani, the royal office minister of Oman. The two ministers talked about the current events in the region, notably in Yemen.

Both of them highlighted the necessity of teamwork to alleviate Yemeni people’s suffering and support political processes, stability, and long-term peace.

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