Commerce increases watch over Iranian trade
If it’s not enough that Iran strives to build an arsenal of nuclear weapons, the United States and its allies fear that the country will also become an international trader of these deadly devices.
“While Iran’s inward proliferation activities are deeply disturbing, there remains the broader concern that Iran itself will become a primary source for outward proliferation,” said Mario Mancuso, the U.S. Commerce Department’s undersecretary of the Bureau of Industry and Security in a speech to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy on Tuesday.
“This is not mere conjecture,” he added. “Iran is already one of the primary suppliers of conventional weapons in the region, including to known terrorist groups.”
BIS oversees the country’s export control rules for U.S.-made commercial technologies with potential military applications. Mancuso said the agency has stepped up its oversight of Iranian trade activities.
“Specifically, we’re refining and strengthening our export controls, engaging our private sector stakeholders, prioritizing our enforcement efforts, and working with our foreign counterparts to most effectively address the Iranian challenge,” Mancuso said.
He outlined BIS’s recent efforts to crack down on illicit trade activities with Iran, including:
' Refining the list of items that BIS controls to ensure that the agency is focused on those which are most sensitive to national security.
' Providing more information to exporters and freight forwarders about overseas entities who illicitly seek U.S.-controlled technologies.
' Sharpening enforcement efforts to focus on proliferators, terrorists and nations used to stage illicit transshipments.
' Working with allies around the world to enhance their export control systems to eliminate any gaps in international efforts to keep certain technologies out of Iranian hands.
“Our sincere hope is that our combined efforts — along with those of our partners — will persuade Iran to pursue a new course,” Mancuso said.