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Iranian firms in the United Arab Emirates are increasingly coming under tougher measures in line with UN sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear drive, a senior Iranian businessman said on Tuesday.

“We are observing a very strict application of the UN sanctions against Iran,” Morteza Masoumzadeh, vice-president of the Iranian Business Council in Dubai, told AFP.

Masoumzadeh said the implementation of sanctions started about two years ago but have “become tougher in the past couple of months especially at Dubai ports.”

“All containers that arrive to the UAE for Iranian traders and which are normally sent to Iran by smaller vessels, have now to be unloaded and put into new containers, which cost the traders 1,000 extra dollars per container,” he said.

On June 9, the UN Security Council slapped a fourth round of sanctions on Iran over its controversial nuclear drive, this time tightening the noose on military and financial transactions.

The resolution bans the sale to Iran of eight new types of heavy weapons and applies new restrictions on Iranian investments abroad.

For years, Iran maintained active trade relations with Dubai, one of seven emirates making up the UAE, with the trade volume estimated at about 10 billion dollars a year, mostly of Iranian imports.

Masoumzadeh said newly arriving Iranian merchants are facing several restrictions as many of them are denied a license to operate while others have to undergo tougher procedures.

These measures “will affect the overall trade relations between the UAE and Iran,” estimated to have dropped to seven billion dollars last year from about 10 billion dollars previously, he said.

The “UAE is no longer Iran’s first trade partner as it has slipped to the third place,” Masoumzadeh said.

The Dubai-based Gulf News daily on Monday quoted an unnamed UAE official as saying the Gulf state has closed down 40 international and local firms as part of a crackdown on companies that violate UN sanctions on Iran.

These companies have been dealing in “dual-use and dangerous materials banned under UN resolutions and the nuclear non-proliferation treaty,” the official said.

Masoumzadeh however said he was unaware of any closures among the 1,000 companies that come under the Iranian Business Council.

“There are 8,000 Iranian companies in the UAE out of which nearly 1,000 are members of the IBC. However, none of the alleged 40 Iranian companies that they were shut down were members of the IBC,” he said.

“I have no information about any of those companies that has been closed.” AFP

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