A prominent US lawmaker has asked Tuvalu to stop reflagging Iranian oil tankers and warned its government of the risks of running afoul of US sanctions.
The European Union last month imposed bans on Iranian oil imports and insurance for vessels carrying Iranian oil as part of measures aimed at ending Tehran's nuclear programme.
The United States has new economic sanctions that have curbed Iranian oil imports by most other major nations.
Howard Berman, of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, says as many as 22 ships owned by the National Iranian Tanker Company have been registered in Tuvalu.
He says reflagging the tankers could be deemed a sanctionable activity under US rules and has asked Prime Minister Willie Telavi to cancel the registry of all such vessels.