Dubai, the home of the Gulf's largest port, Jebel Ali, and Iran's crucial economic outlet, is central to this effort.
A company indicted in America for allegedly exporting "dual-use" electronics to Iran remains open for business in Dubai, Mayrow General Trading, . Meanwhile, people named in American courts for allegedly conspiring to deal in banned items are reported to be living normally in the city. Charged in the indictment are Iranian nationals Ali Akbar Yahya, Farrokh Nia Yaghmaei, Bahman Ghandi, Farshid Gillardian, Isaac Gillardian and Ahmad Rahzad Majid Seif.
Last month, US prosecutors levelled these charges against eight businessmen, including one Briton. Some are believed to be at large in Dubai. Five companies all based here, Dubai, were also charged, including Mayrow General Trading, which was accused of selling Iran tiny computer chips, of a kind frequently recovered from sophisticated roadside bombs deployed to kill American and British forces in Iraq. But Mayrow is still trading in Dubai and its phone line is operating.
SEE PRIOR POST...Thursday, September 18, 2008, IRAQ ROADSIDE BOMB PARTS CAME FROM MIAMI AND WERE SHIPPED TO DUBAI AND THEN INTO IRAN
SEE PRIOR POST...Saturday, September 20, 2008, Britons accused of bomb parts sales, Irag Roadside bomb parts came from Miami and were shipped to Dubai and into Iran
Iran relies on Dubai in the manner that Communist China once depended on Hong Kong: as a free port for an isolated regime. America and her allies have responded with an extensive surveillance operation, with US officials monitoring shipments in and out of the city since 2002.
Only about one per cent of Dubai's 10,800 registered merchants are thought to have ties to Iran. But there are tens of thousands of outlets and countless "businessmen" operating beneath the radar.
Dubai's Jebel Ali port is expanding so fast - with container volumes growing by 20 per cent in the first half of this year - that screening cargo properly is a mammoth undertaking.
There is no doubt that Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani scientist who helped build his country's nuclear arsenal and covertly aided Iran and Libya as well, channelled banned components through Dubai.
"The UN sanctions and the US pressure to cut off the banks is hurting. But Iran's end runs, chiefly setting up shelf companies and so forth in Dubai, are a significant hole in the net," said Mark Fitzpatrick, an expert on Iran's nuclear programme at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. "The Emirates has adopted an exports control law, but is only beginning to implement it."
But these measures have inflicted indiscriminate pain on Dubai's Iranian business community, including those opposed to the regime. Amin Hazaveh, who owns an internet cafe, has begun closing his shop because his line of credit has been withdrawn. With only Iranian assets, he cannot borrow from Dubai's banks. "The atmosphere has turned difficult," he said. "But this is Dubai - there are always options. It's just the straightforward choices are disappearing."
Dubai terror central.
Bill Warner...Private Investigator