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LONDON (Reuters) – A ban on European Union insurers covering Iranian oil exports has forced shipowners to fall back on new, untested insurance providers, raising fears that governments may have to pay in the event of an oil spill.

The July ban, part of a range of Western sanctions aimed at forcing Iran to scrap its disputed nuclear programme, has cut off the Iranian oil trade from Europe’s so-called Protection and Indemnity (P&I) clubs, which account for the majority of cover for the tanker market.

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