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A Brazilian Court Has Ordered Petrobras To Refuel Iranian Ships

Brazil Supreme Court President Jose Antonio Dias Toffoli speaks during a meeting with Brazilian President jair Bolsonaro and evangelical leaders at the Hilton Barra Hotel, Barra da Tijuca neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on April 11, 2019. (Photo by

A Brazilian court has ordered Petrobras to refuel two Iranian ships that have been unable to leave the port of Paranagua for the past 50 days.

The ruling was presented by the president of the Supreme Federal Court of Brazil, Dias Toffoli, on July 24.

The Brazilian state-owned oil company has been refusing to refuel the Iranian vessels for several weeks due to the implications of U.S. sanctions that could expose it to penalties.

The two vessels, named Bavand and Termeh, were carrying 110,000 tons of maize to Iran. Iran is a major buyer of Brazilian corn, with $1.09 billion exported to Iran out of the $3.91 billion exported in total.

According to the ruling, the Brazilian company Eleva Quimica, selling the maize is not on the U.S. sanctions list. It is this company that appealed to Brazilian courts for a decision. Petrobras has argued that by selling fuel to the ships the company would violate U.S. sanctions.

The ruling came after an appealed decision from a lower Brazilian court. Toffoli also noted that Petrobras would not be exposed to U.S. sanctions since the ruling comes as a court order.

The Brazilian government recently warned companies to be careful about not violating U.S. sanctions.

Speaking to the Fars news agency, Iran's ambassador to Brazil, Seyed Ali Saqqayian, said on July 24 that he "told the Brazilians that they should solve the issue."

With reporting from Folha De Sao Paulo and AP