Iran General NewsUS official warns UAE on trade with Iran, Syria

US official warns UAE on trade with Iran, Syria

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Reuters: The United States warned the United Arab Emirates on Thursday it may take action against the Gulf state if it fails to halt the flow of technology to Iran and Syria that can be used to make improvised bombs. By Doug Palmer

WASHINGTON, Dec 14 (Reuters) – The United States warned the United Arab Emirates on Thursday it may take action against the Gulf state if it fails to halt the flow of technology to Iran and Syria that can be used to make improvised bombs.

“We continue to discuss this issue with UAE authorities but time for action is running short,” Chris Padilla, assistant secretary of commerce for export administration, said in a speech to an industry group.

Washington has accused both Syria and Iran of allowing military equipment into their mutual neighbor Iraq, where so-called Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) are one of the deadliest weapons used in the insurgency against U.S. troops.

Padilla cited the activities of Mayrow General Trading, a UAE-based company, as “just one example of an alarming lack of export oversight by the government of UAE.”

“Basically, we found that these guys and some related entities were involved in transshipping components that are particularly used in building IEDs,” he said.

“The United States is increasingly disturbed by the diversion of goods to Iran and Syria through various ports in the UAE.”

The United States has been working with the UAE for several years to help it develop an export control law, through efforts such as technical assistance and training, Padilla said.

“They really must take action and do so in the near term,” he said. “If there continues to be these problems, we may have to consider steps beyond just doing technical assistance and I won’t elaborate and speculate on what those might be.”

The UAE is home to Dubai Ports World (DPW), the world’s third-largest port container operator, which found itself in a political firestorm this year when U.S. lawmakers objected to the state-run firm buying facilities at six major U.S. ports.

DPW agreed to sell those operations and announced on Monday it had found a buyer, a global investment unit of the U.S. insurance company American International Group .

The ports furor also complicated talks on a proposed free trade agreement between the United States and UAE.

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