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Monday, July 26, 2010

Iran attempting to circumvent sanctions by registering ships in the Isle of Man

Iran has been preparing for the new round of sanctions, just announced by the European Union. The latest round, broadened to include gas and oil products, the mainstays of its economy, are designed to pressure Iran into resuming negotiations about curbing its nuclear program. Canada announced similar sanctions today, bringing them in line with those already implemented by the United States.

But in what may be an attempt to surreptitiously circumvent the sanctions on the international arms embargo and on other items, the BBC reported that Iran has been setting up shipping companies in the Isle of Man. These Iranian ships would be formally registered to that jurisdiction, a tiny UK Crown Dependency in the Irish Sea which has its own laws and an ancient parliament.

Ownership of The Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line (IRISL) vessels have been quietly been transferred to six Manx companies over the last two years. In November, Israel seized a huge Iranian arms cache on a Manx ship. Read more from the BBC here.

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