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US sanctions on Iranian firms based in Malta

Date: 13/01/2012

The US government has imposed sanctions on 10 Malta-based shipping and front companies linked to the Iranian shipping industry, accusing them of helping the Islamic Republic’s missile and other military programmes.

The Treasury Department said the firms and one individual were linked to the state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, Irano Hind, which is a joint venture with the Indian government, and ISI Maritime.

The shippers are accused of “involvement in Iran’s efforts to advance its missile programmes and transport military cargoes,” and of trying to skirt sanctions via front companies.

“As IRISL and its subsidiaries continue their deceptive efforts to escape the grasp of US and international sanctions, we will continue to take action... to stop this illicit business,” said top Treasury official David Cohen.

Similar sanctions were introduced by the European Union on December 1.

IRISL is an important client of Malta Freeport. A cable sent by the US Embassy in Paris in 2008, and revealed by Wikileaks, had claimed that Malta was not supportive of additional measures against the line, including inspections of its vessels.

Source: Times of Malta

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