ISIS Iran Report

UAE Cracks Down on Iran’s Illicit Trade

June 25, 2010

On June 21, a United Arab Emirates (UAE) newspaper, Gulf News Daily, quoted an anonymous government official as saying the UAE had closed down some 40 local and international companies associated with illicit trade to Iran over the past two years.  The official said that these companies traded in “dual-use and dangerous materials banned under UN resolutions and the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.”  The official also said that any companies associated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) or its affiliates would be shut down, reiterating the country’s support for a recent UN resolution targeting, among other things, the military and dual-use procurement operations of the IRGC.  The UAE has reportedly canceled work permits for Iranians suspected of illicit trading activities, and over the last few months, has also stopped over thirty suspicious shipments of cargo heading to Iran.  (Notably, on June 22, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported on a walk out of Iranian officials during an inter-parliamentary meeting with UAE officials in Dubai.  The exact reason for the walk out was not specified, but the UAE’s announcement was alluded to by Iranian officials). 

On June 22, Agence France Presse quoted a “Western diplomat” who said that U.S. pressure had succeeded in convincing the federal government based in Abu Dhabi to ramp up its efforts to crack down on Iran’s illicit trade, prompting this announcement.  Similar U.S. pressure was reportedly responsible for convincing the UAE to implement its first export controls in 2007.  Another UAE official quoted by The Financial Times said the UAE has even taken measures that “go beyond the sanctions regime.”  This positive UAE announcement indicates that the United States has considerable diplomatic influence at its disposal to convince additional allies to clamp down on Iran’s illicit trading activities in military and dual-use equipment.  It should continue these efforts with other governments. 

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