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Post by kbcl1 » Sun Dec 26, 2010 9:30 pm



The United Kingdom government has rejected assertions made by the Celtic League
that Iranian shipping owned via Isle of Man registered companies may have
breached sanctions.

The League wrote to UK Lord Chancellor Kenneth Clarke in September (see link
below): ... ssage/3480

The UK say that it is accepted that a number of ships belonging to the Islamic
Republic of Iran are owned by Isle of Man companies however they go on to say
that their investigations have found no evidence of sanctions being breached.

Interestingly, however the Ministry of Justice have not commented on our request
that they should publicise the result of the inquiries that they made.

Given that we have every confidence in the veracity of the source on which our
original enquiry was based the assurances from both the Isle of Man and UK
governments about the activities of Manx-Iranian linked shipping have a somewhat
hollow ring.

The reply from the Ministry of Justice is set out below:

"17th December 2010

Dear Mr Moffatt

Subject: Alleged shipments of arms on behalf of Iran

Thank you for your letter of 18 September 2010 to the Lord Chancellor and
Secretary of State for Justice, the Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke QC MP, in which you
expressed concern about allegations that Iranian ships registered in the Isle of
Man had been involved in the shipment of arms in violation of UN sanctions. I
have been asked to reply, as a member of the team within the Ministry of Justice
responsible for overseeing the constitutional relationship between the United
Kingdom and the Crown Dependencies. I regret the delay in responding.

You refer in your letter to an undertaking to make inquiries into this issue,
given in Parliament in July by the Secretary of State. I assume that this is a
reference to Mr Clarke's reply to Thomas Docherty MP during Topical Questions on
20 July, when he said that the Department would contact the Isle of Man to
ensure that everything that could properly be done was being done to ensure that
no breach of international sanctions that could be prevented was being allowed
to go ahead. If so, I can advise you that we did indeed contact the Isle of Man
Government and were assured that the Island's sanctions regime was the same as
that of the UK and that there had been no breach of current restrictions. The
Isle of Man authorities said that they would continue to pay close attention to
relevant activities within the Island to ensure compliance with existing
sanctions and any further measures that might be taken internationally. Mr
Docherty was informed of this at the time.

On receiving your letter of 18 September I sought the comments of the Isle of
Man Government on the matters you raise. Officials in the Island confirm that
their Government is aware of the existence of a number of ships belonging to the
Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line (IRISL) which are owned by Isle of Man
companies. The Island Government is also aware of the involvement of Manx
companies with IRISL ships that are owned elsewhere. It takes its commitments
under UN and EU sanctions seriously and, in particular, it takes action to
ensure that EU sanctions such as those imposed in respect of Iran are given
effect in the Island, where such measures do not apply directly. The EU
sanctions against Iran which were imposed by Council Decision 2010/413/CFSP with
effect from 27 July 2010 have been applied in the Island and work is in progress
to apply Council Resolution (EU) 916/2010. Under the current sanctions regime,
funds belonging to, or intended for, IRISL or other individuals or entities
subject to the sanctions are to be frozen. The authorities in the Island assure
us that they co-operate fully with the relevant authorities in the UK and other
countries in respect of sanctions measures.

So far as the most recent correspondence is concerned, I am advised by the Isle
of Man authorities that evidence to date is that no person or company in the
Island has acted in breach of any UN or EU sanctions, or any export or trade
controls, in respect of IRISL or Iran in general. In particular, as regards the
extract from your letter of 18 September to the Chief Minister of the Isle of
Man concerning the vessel "Francop", the Isle of Man Government is not aware of
any evidence that a vessel with Manx connections was involved in transhipping
military equipment that was subsequently seized from that vessel by Israel in
November 2009. Furthermore, enquiries undertaken locally following the incident
revealed no evidence that any person in the Island was involved in the
operational control of any IRISL vessels (sourcing cargo, routes, negotiating
shipping contracts and charters and so on). Any such involvement in the
"Francop" case could have constituted a serious trade control offence under Manx
domestic law, regardless of any UN sanctions.

I would emphasise that the UK is committed to enforcing and implementing tough
sanctions against Iran. The matters you have raised are, however, ones for the
Isle of Man to investigate. I understand that the Chief Minister has informed
you by letter that if you have evidence to support your allegations that a Manx
flagged vessel transhipped a consignment of arms destined for Hezbollah to
another vessel, the "Francop", then you should forward that evidence to him so
that the appropriate investigations can be put in hand.

Yours sincerely,

Janet Tweedale
Crown Dependencies Branch"

Related links on Celtic News ... ssage/3534 ... ssage/3484 ... ssage/3479 ... ssage/3386

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League


The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works
to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a
broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights
human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on
socio-economic issues.

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