The United States has sanctioned a firm from the United
Arab Emirates for providing help to Iran's cruise missile program.
It was the first time the United States has sanctioned a company from
the UAE, regarded as an ally of Washington. Previously, U.S. sanctions
regarding missile assistance to Iran included China, North Korea, Russia and
former East Bloc states.
Officials did not immediately identify the UAE firm, Middle East Newsline reported. But they said the
Bush administration has discussed with the UAE the need to tighten export
controls to prevent the transfer of components and technology for missile
and weapons of mass destruction programs.
On Friday, the State Department announced sanctions on 13 companies that
provided missile components to Iran. The companies included five Chinese
firms, two from Macedonia, two from Russia, one from Belarus, North Korea,
Taiwan and the UAE.
State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said the sanctions were in
accordance to the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000. Ereli said sanctions
were not imposed on any of the countries where the companies were based.
"The penalties were imposed pursuant to the Act," Ereli said, "because
there was credible information indicating that these companies had
transferred to Iran, since Jan. 1, 1999, either equipment and technology on
the export Ñ multilateral export control lists or items such as those on
the list but falling below control list parameters or other items with the
potential of making a material contribution to proscribed programs."
So far, 23 entities have come under U.S. sanctions since the
legislation, which bans any dealings by the U.S. government with these
companies. In 2003, four entities were sanctioned.
On March 23, the State Department lifted sanctions from six Russian
entities. Officials said the six were found to have no longer supplied
missile assistance to Iran.
On Sunday, UAE officials disclosed that the Central Bank has frozen $3.1
million in funds linked to what they termed terrorist groups as well as SMB
Computers, the Dubai-based company employed by the Pakistani nuclear network
of scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan. Officials said Dubai authorities were
briefed by U.S. officials on SMB's role in processing and shipping nuclear
weapons components to Iran and Libya. In mid-March, they said, SMB was shut
"The UAE Central Bank has frozen all accounts related to SMB Computer
Co. as part of the investigation," Central Bank governor Sultan Bin Nasser
Al Suwaidi said. "The investigating committee has made significant progress.
The Dubai public prosecutor will soon announce the results of the probe."