AFP: A senior US official said Monday he discussed the latest sanctions imposed by Washington against Iran with officials in the United Arab Emirates, which is Tehran’s top trading partner. ABU DHABI (AFP) A senior US official said Monday he discussed the latest sanctions imposed by Washington against Iran with officials in the United Arab Emirates, which is Tehran’s top trading partner.
“We shared with them some further specifics associated with the announcement several days ago” in order to “help them better understand the direction of US policy,” Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs David McCormick told reporters in Abu Dhabi.
The United States on Thursday announced new sanctions aimed at punishing Iran’s nuclear ambitions and alleged sponsorship of terrorism.
The sanctions targeted the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, accused of spreading weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and the IRGC’s elite Quds Force, which was designated as a supporter of terrorism.
Three Iranian state-owned banks were also blacklisted, along with IRGC-controlled companies and the logistics arm of Iran’s defence ministry.
McCormick, who met with officials and investors in Abu Dhabi, did not go into details about the discussions on Iran.
But he said Washington hoped the sanctions would “result in further action by other countries, will sensitise companies that are doing business with Iran to the potential risk of doing so and the fact that by doing so they may be further advancing these proliferation activities or terrorist financing activities.”
McCormick insisted that the sanctions were aimed at promoting a diplomatic solution to the nuclear standoff with Iran.
Despite already being under UN sanctions, Tehran refuses to suspend its controversial programme of uranium enrichment, which the West fears to be a cover for atomic weapons development, a charge Iran denies.
McCormick, who visited neighbouring Kuwait on Sunday, was due to meet on Tuesday with business leaders in Dubai, a business hub for Iran.
The oil-rich UAE, a US ally, is by far Iran’s largest global trade partner.
The Iranian Business Council (IBC) in Dubai puts the number of Iranian companies operating in the city state at close to 10,000. It estimates accumulated assets of Iranians in the UAE to be about 300 billion dollars, while trade between the UAE and Iran reached about 11 billion dollars in 2006.
McCormick said the primary purpose of his talks in the Gulf was to “reinforce the theme that America is open to investment,” given that “there are some concerns in the region about the openness of the US economy.”