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Dodging sanctions in Iran: Around the block

March 27, 2013

?IT?S all about the documents,? says Sajad, a manager of an Iranian shipping firm. ?Iran is in the printing business now.? He is referring to the lengths to which Iranian companies go to circumvent sanctions. In this case, the documents are faked to make Iranian oil look as if it came from Iraq. Iraq exports a lot of oil through Iran by lorry. Iranians who handle Iraqi documents can easily copy and reuse them.The past 15 months have been grim for Iranian businesses which trade with the outside world. America has tightened sanctions against Iran?s financial system; the European Union has put an embargo on its oil; and international traders are wary of dealing with the country.But Iranian businesses are used to fighting for survival. The Islamic Republic has faced sanctions of one sort or another since its creation in 1979. Parts for Iran?s ageing civilian airliners trickle in from the black market. A host of sanctioned products, from industrial chemicals to anti-aircraft missiles, come from China. Almost any good can be found in Iran, at a price.Amir, a manager in a mining business, says he regularly meets British and German suppliers in Turkey, to obtain the most advanced equipment to tap Iran?s mineral wealth. ?Foreign firms are terrified of doing something illegal, but in the end they are businessmen,? he says. ?The Europeans send our cargoes to Dubai, documented as the...

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