Amid all the grandstanding about drawing a “red line” that Iran shouldn’t cross in its uranium enrichment program, a different kind of line may have just settled the issue. Maersk Line, the world’s largest container shipping company, announced on Tuesday that it will cease all remaining business with Iran, for which it is the leading shipper of commercial and consumer goods. It is a development that has the potential to be both tragic and hopeful; if nothing else, it is indisputably significant. Maersk just closed off a major supply chain to Iran, making its isolation from the world almost complete.
There has been almost no acknowledgement, outside the transportation industry, of Maersk’s decision. But the company just admitted what must have been clearly visible from the ocean: Maersk ended all cargo shipments to the Persian Gulf port of Bushehr on Sept. 30, and started refusing all outbound cargo on Sept. 24.