Taking Cue from Treasury’s Sanctions, World’s Largest Container Shipping Firm Ends Business with Sanctioned Iranian Entity

U.S. Department of the Treasury on July 8, 2011 released the following:

“By: David S. Cohen

Last week, Maersk Line, the world’s largest container shipping firm, became the latest company to publicly announce that it is restricting its business with Iran in response to U.S. and international sanctions.

Maersk was responding to Treasury’s June 23 designation of Tidewater Middle East Co., a port operating company owned by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) that has been used for illicit IRGC shipments. Less than a week after we exposed Tidewater’s links to Iran’s proliferation activities, Maersk announced that it will no longer accept business to and from three Iranian ports where Tidewater operates: Bandar Abbas, Bandar Khomeini and Asaluyeh.

Treasury welcomes Maersk’s decision to avoid the risk of doing business with this known IRGC-owned entity. The private sector has a natural business incentive to avoid the reputational risk of dealing with entities involved in Iran’s illicit activities. Other firms involved in the international shipping industry should follow Maersk’s lead.

We designed the Tidewater action to further expose the IRGC’s central role in Iranian illicit conduct and its growing control over Iran’s legitimate economy – and also to identify entities that are closely linked to the IRGC so that the international community can take steps to protect against the risk of doing business with the IRGC.

The private sector continues to play a critical role in ensuring that our sanctions have the appropriate targeted effect on those in the Iranian government that are perpetrating illicit conduct. Some of Iran’s most dangerous cargo continues to come and go in and out of Iran’s ports, and Maersk’s decision to restrict its business with Tidewater, rather than risk facilitating Iran’s illicit activities, underscores the critical role that the private sector plays in amplifying the effect of U.S. and international sanctions.

As the Government of Iran has increasingly turned to the IRGC for key economic projects, Iran’s leadership has forced commercial entities that care about their international reputation to look exceedingly carefully at any business that could expose them to transactions with Iran’s illicit actors. We expect that other firms around the world will follow Maersk’s lead in minimizing or eliminating their involvement with any entity known to be tied to the IRGC.

David S. Cohen is Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.”

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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