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Official: Zanzibar misled into flagging Iran oil

August 12, 2012
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ZANZIBAR, Tanzania—Zanzibar says it is in the process of de-registering 36 Iranian oil tankers that bear the flag of Tanzania after an investigation proved their true origins.

Zanzibar Vice President Seif Ali Iddi told the House of Representatives on Friday that his government would also terminate the contract of Philtex, a Dubai-based contracting agency that is accused of misleading the government.

Iddi said that Zanzibar's maritime authority had made a mistake in registering the vessels and that the government should de-register them "to avoid international sanctions."

The flag ruse appears to have been an effort by Iran, which is under pressure from the U.S. and its allies to halt its nuclear enrichment program, to avoid crippling international sanctions.

Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania, had been under pressure from the international community to investigate the origins of the vessels.

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