A United Arab Emirates court of appeals today sentenced an Iranian businessman to 10 years in prison for attempting to assist Iran’s nuclear program, Arab media reports. The Iranian national was previously tried and convicted for trying to ship an electric generator to Iran to be used in the country’s nuclear program, according to Emirati officials. The federal court in Abu Dhabi said the move was a breach of the international sanctions against Iran and ordered the Iranian national to be deported after serving his sentence. Emirati authorities confiscated the generator and other devices related to the case.
Comment: Although the United States and its European allies lifted most nuclear-related sanctions on Iran in January 2016 after Tehran agreed to roll back its nuclear activities, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (J.C.P.O.A) – or the 2015 nuclear agreement – still bars Iran from acquiring technologies that can be used for nuclear purposes. The Emirati officials say the generator belonged to that category.
Thousands of Iranians immigrated to the United Arab Emirates after Iran’s 1979 revolution, and the U.A.E. is now home to about a million Iranian expatriates. Most of the Iranian community live in Dubai. There were an estimated 8,000 Iranian businesses in Dubain in 2010. After the Obama administration and its allies toughened international sanctions on Iran and pressured the Emirati government to enforce the sanctions, U.A.E. became less hospitable for the Iranian business community. But according to Western diplomats and Gulf officials, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (I.R.G.C.) established fake front businesses in the U.A.E. to circumvent sanctions and to acquire precision equipment from Western suppliers. The U.S. Department of the Treasury sanctioned many I.R.G.C.-affiliated companies in the U.A.E.