U.S. sanctions Gulf firm for helping Iran's missile program

Monday, April 5, 2004

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 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 down.

"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."

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

Print this Article Print this Article Email this article Email this article Subscribe to this Feature Free Headline Alerts

Search Worldwide Web Search Search WorldTrib Archives