NEW YORK // The UAE is implementing United Nations sanctions against Iran, including barring some Iranian ships from its ports, banning some of its citizens from entering or transiting through the country, and empowering Emirati officials to inspect shipmentstravelling to or from Iran, the government has told the UN.
In an official report to the committee monitoring the implementation of UN sanctions against Iran, the UAE outlined a co-ordinated effort by multiple ministries and agencies to comply with Security Council sanctions.
The UN imposed a fourth round of trade curbs against Tehran on June 9 designed to halt Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programmes by targeting Iranian cargo, financial transactions and firms run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines.
The UAE's two-page report to the UN sanctions committee provides details of a meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abu Dhabi on June 22 and lists the government departments that have been tasked with implementing UN sanctions within the country's borders.
According to the report, dated August 11 but released this week, the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation is responsible for ensuring that Iran does not acquire interests in UAE-based firms involved in uranium mining, enrichment or reprocessing.
As for actual implementation of the sanctions, the report said that the Ministry of Interior has placed 11 individuals connected to Iran's nuclear or ballistic missile programme on a list of those banned from entering or transiting through the country, promising to take appropriate action if they were found on UAE soil.
Responding to the Security Council's request that UN members inspect all suspect cargo bound for or leaving Iran, the UAE report outlines new laws that empower officials to search "all trucks travelling to or from Iran".
The UAE's customs and port authorities, the National Transport Authority and the Federal Customs Authority, will ensure ships owned by the Iranian shipping firm are not able to refuel or receive assistance through UAE ports.
The General Command of the Armed Forces is charged with monitoring and preventing the transport of conventional military hardware - from tanks to combat aircraft and attack helicopters - passing through UAE territory to Iran.
The Executive Office of the National Commission on Commodities will help ensure Iran does not acquire ballistic missile technology. The report describes an export law that "criminalises and penalises the transfer of relevant materials" to Iran.
The Central Bank and the Federal Insurance Authority will oversee compliance with financial curbs on suspect Iranian companies and extend the sanctions regime to the Revolutionary Guards and the shipping firm.
The report follows the fourth round of UN Security Council sanctions imposed against Iran in June over its controversial uranium enrichment programme, which many western states believe is part of a bid to build a nuclear bomb, a charge Tehran denies.
The sanctions were adopted after five months of closed-door negotiations in which United States-led plans for tough curbs, including the targeting of Iran's energy sector, were watered down by China and Russia, both veto-wielding members of the 15-nation Security Council.
The resolution tightened the arms embargo against Iran, brought new measures against Iranian banks abroad suspected of involvement in the country's nuclear or missile programmes and vigilance over transactions with any Iranian bank, including the central bank.
It listed 40 companies to be added to a UN blacklist of firms whose assets worldwide were to be frozen for aiding Iran's nuclear or missile programmes, including three shipping firms and 15 belonging to the Revolutionary Guards. It also called for setting up a cargo inspection regime similar to the one against North Korea.
The US, the European Union, and other countries have independently imposed sanctions against Iran that expand upon UN curbs, designed to further squeeze Iran's banking sector and block investment into its lucrative oil and gas sectors.
Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, said this month that Iran's leadership was surprised that the sanctions had "bitten much harder than they anticipated". Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi, an adviser to the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, told The Washington Post that curbs were having "no noticeable effect".
Analysts point to Iran's continued uranium enrichment activities as evidence that the sanctions have failed to achieve their desired effect. While they have "hurt" Tehran economically, said Emma Belcher, of the US-based Council on Foreign Relations, they "have not compelled Iran to stop enrichment, nor fully co-operate with the International Atomic Energy Agency".
Direct talks between Iran and the so called "P5+1" powers - the US , Russia, China, France and Britain, all permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany - broke down more than a year ago but were expected to resume in the coming weeks.
Stuart Levey, the US undersecretary of treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, visited the Emirates for two days in August to discuss UN sanctions and coordinate efforts to deny Iran "new channels to access the international financial system for illicit purposes", he said.
Iranian businesses in the UAE have complained that red tape around new trade rules has made business more difficult, although Emirati officials have outlined efforts to ensure that legitimate trade can continue.
Iran is a major trading partner with the UAE, with estimates of annual trade flow between the two countries ranging upwards from US$8 billion (Dh29.38bn). There are also some 400,000 Iranians living in the UAE.