Target: U.S. Port Authorities
Goal: Deny docking privileges to companies that operate in both the U.S. and Iran
Despite economic sanctions implemented against Iran, many major shipping companies continue to routinely operate in major ports across the U.S. and in Iranian ports controlled by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Local port authorities need to declare their ports off-limits to these shippers, who are violating the spirit and the letter of sanctions imposed to isolate the Iranian regime and hinder their efforts towards nuclear armament.
The current Iranian regime is pursuing a nuclear program despite condemnation and pressure from the United Nations, is the world’s most active state sponsor of terrorism, has supplied the current Syrian regime with weapons for use against the Syrian rebels, and continually violates the rights of its own citizens. Several rounds of sanctions have been enacted against Iran by the United Nations, the United States, and the European Union, including, most recently, the National Defense Authorization Act, signed by President Obama, which authorizes sanctions against any person who knowingly supports activity benefitting port operators in Iran.
Ocean shipping is the primary method for the import of raw materials necessary to Iran’s nuclear program, and 90% of Iran’s container traffic passes through the Shaheed Rajaee Complex at Bandar Abbas, which is operated by Tidewater Middle East Co. As it is controlled by the IRGC, Tidewater has been blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury. Even so, major shipping lines for companies like Evergreen Shipping and United Arab Shipping Company make stops in Tidewater-operated ports before continuing on to U.S. destinations. This activity directly supports the IRGC and the current Iranian regime.
In 2010, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act urged state and local governments and agencies to assist with implementing federal sanctions. U.S. Port Authority officials need to present shippers with a clear choice: do business with the U.S. or do business with Iran, but not with both. Urge U.S. port authorities to deny docking privileges to shipping companies that choose to do business with Iran.
Dear Port Authorities of the United States,
Sanctions implemented by the United Nations and the United States are in place to isolate an Iranian regime that violates human rights, sponsors terrorism, and is pursuing an illicit nuclear program. Yet how can sanctions succeed if they are neither heeded nor enforced?
Several major shipping companies openly acknowledge their regular business with both American and Iranian port operators, and this flagrant violation of sanctions needs to end. Tell these companies that, so long as they continue to directly and indirectly support the Iranian regime, their business will not be welcome and our ports are off-limits. Presenting them with a clear and unequivocal choice will not result in a significant loss of business and will help isolate Iran and hamper their nuclear efforts.
If they dock in Iranian ports, operate offices in Iran, or import or export into and out of Iran (except on humanitarian grounds) their docking privileges should be revoked.
[Your Name Here]
Photocredit: Thue via Wikimedia Commons