To successfully impose sanctions on Iran, the loophole in Dubai has to be closed.
By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL
BERLIN – Dubai’s free trade zones continues to be used to smuggle sophisticated German technology that can be used for Teheran’s nuclear program, according to a report in the Sunday Telegraph.“The deal was negotiated with a prominent Dubai trading company, which then sold Iran a range of electronic equipment for use at its Natanz uranium enrichment facility,” wrote veteran Sunday Telegraph reporter Con Coughlin, a leading expert on radical Islam and the Middle East.Michael Spaney, a spokesman for the German chapter of Stop the Bomb, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday, “The shipment of German nuclear equipment to Iran via Dubai is as worrying as is the whole German- Iranian trade, which, in our view, is supporting the regime of Ahmadinejad. The new disclosure of a deal with German nuclear goods being re-exported from a Dubai company to Iran has to be seen only as the tip of the iceberg.”The Sunday Telegraph story noted that “an Iranian company associated with the regime’s nuclear programme has acquired control systems from one of Germany’s leading electronics manufacturers.”The report shines a spotlight on illegal German-Iranian trade and lax export control systems in Dubai and the Federal Republic.German equipment “was delivered to Kalaye Electronic, an Iranian company which is also subject to sanctions because of its close association with Iran’s nuclear programme,” the British newspaper reported.While the Germany company was not named in the report, the engineering and electrical giant Siemens AG was cited in German media reports last year for its connections with Kalaye. In December, the British Navy confiscated sophisticated computer technology designed for the operation of Iranian nuclear power plants. Siemens sent Teleperm automation technology to China, which was en route to Kalaye in Iran. The computers are used to control nuclear reactors.In an e-mail to the Post on Tuesday, Siemens spokesman Wolfram Trost wrote, “Siemens has no direct business relations with Kalaye Electric.”When asked whether Scientechnic, a Siemens distributor based in Dubai, played a role in re-exporting the equipment to Kalaye, Trost wrote, “Our distributors must also abide by the existing embargo and export control regulations. This also applies to Scientechnic, which is based in Dubai and undertakes distribution activities in the United Arab Emirates. We do not give information anywhere in the world on our volume of business with individual firms.”Trost added that “the increased demands in this area have been taken into account by the firm and it has further optimized its related processes and increased the resources employed” in inspecting every item twice.In a telephone interview on Tuesday, Scientechnic general manager Ishrat Siddique, speaking from Dubai, told the Post that he is “not aware” of a delivery to Kalaye. Siddique said the company is “not really exporting” goods and is a partner of Siemens involved in “cables, lighting, switch gears and control devices.”When asked if the Dubai authorities had questioned Scientechnic about deliveries, Siddique said, “There have been some cases... Sometimes [they] ask for address codes.” The Sunday Telegraph reported that last year Dubai officials “blocked the sale to Iran by the Dubai-company Scientechnic of equipment manufactured by the German electronics company Siemens...”Trost, the Siemens spokesman, wrote in his e-mail to the Post that “Siemens is aware of the sensitivity of business dealings with customers in Iran and monitors its ongoing business activities there very carefully and critically."A spokesman for the German Economics Ministry wrote in an e-mail to the Post, “The remaining trade with Iran does not endanger the security of Israel because it deals exclusively with the export of civilian goods and according to authorized exports of goods whose final usage is examined.” However, according to German government statistics, in 2009 the Merkel administration approved 48 dual-use goods shipments – items that can be used for civilian or military purposes. In 2008, the German government green-lighted 39 dual-use contracts with Iran.The Stop the Bomb spokesman, Michael Spaney, said, “The first action that should be taken by Germany is to forbid the delivery of dual-use goods to Iran. To successfully impose sanctions on Iran, the loophole in Dubai has to be closed. But also a closer watch has to be placed on ports in Malaysia, Hong Kong and even Italy because illegal trade with Iran seems to become more attractive the more Teheran is under pressure.”
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