Bureau Veritas Pulls Plug on Iran Operations

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June 7, 2012

IRISL containers aboard a IRISL container ship in Isreal

French classification society Bureau Veritas has halted its marine work in Iran, pledging to end its certification of Iranian vessels, specifically those of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (“IRISL”) and the National Iranian Tanker Company (“NITC”).

In a statement made available Thursday, Bureau Veritas said that it has “decided to disengage completely from all Marine activities related to Iran,” including “all vessels of the IRISL and of its subsidiaries, irrespective of their flags,” as well as all NITC vessels.

Bureau Veritas decision comes seemingly in response to a request by the United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) – a not-for-profit, non-partisan, advocacy group that seeks to prevent Iran from fulfilling its ambition to obtain nuclear weapons – asking to halt its marine operations in the country, noting that its “certification activities were in violation of EU sanctions”.  The letter also pointed out that Bureau Veritas’s continued work with Iran could possibly imperil its business with the U.S. Government.  Bureau Veritias has had nearly $23 million in contracts with the U.S. government since 2000, according to the website USASpending.gov.

UANI says that the shipping industry is an area where the international community can further put pressure on Iran. In a March 17 Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, six UANI board members wrote that “the world must deny Iran’s access to international shipping, a move that would severely affect the regime given its dependence on global trade and seaborne crude oil exports. Aligned nations should prohibit international cargo shippers that service Iranian ports… from shipping to the U.S., EU and elsewhere.”

The move follows a similar decision by Lloyd’s Register and DNV to stop certifying Iranian ships.

“We applaud Bureau Veritas for ending its certification of Iranian vessels,” said UANI CEO, U.S. Ambassador Mark D. Wallace. “We accept Bureau Veritas’s pledge to end all of its marine activities related to Iran, and we thank the company’s executives for taking this quick and responsible action.

UANI, which is headed in the U.S., works with the London-based think tank, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), on the UANI-ISD Initiative, a transatlantic partnership dedicated to combatting the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran and highlighting the dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran throughout the U.S. and Europe.

Updated: Third paragraph with additional details, added DNV in fifth paragraph, added hyperlinked references, and added last paragraph.



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