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Cyprus Resists US Boost To Ports Controls

wikileaks cyprusCyprus and Malta are two EU states which have resisted the US' tougher vigilance on ships and cargos belonging to Iran Air Cargo and the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRSL), according to a 2008 US London Embassy secret cable released by Wikileaks.ch.

The cable quotes US diplomat Isabella Macrae saying that "opposition to tighter controls came from the "island Members" of the EU -- Cyprus and Malta."

She added that the UK government supports on-going efforts in the EU, led by France, to strengthen restrictions on Iran Air Cargo and IRISL, according to the cable.

In October of 2010, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on a Limassol-based shipping company which it says is a front acting for the Islamic Republic of Iran's Shipping Lines with the ultimate goal of building weapons of mass destruction.

Thirty-seven companies were blacklisted after the US alleged they are being used to support Iran's nuclear and missile progammes. US citizens are now prohibited from doing business with the firms.

Commenting on the news at the time, Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou said that as a European Union country, Cyprus complies with all relevant sanctions against Iran.

The blacklisted company in Limassol is called Lancelin Shipping Company Ltd - which is wholly-owned by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRSL) - and directed by Ahmad Sarkandi, said the US Treasury. Sarkandi is also a director of Ocean Capital Administration GmbH.

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