Wednesday, March 14, 2012

As Relations With Iran Deteriorate Freight Interests Face Uncertain Future

New Website Aims to Give an Accurate Picture to Iranian Citizens
Shipping News Feature

UK – IRAN – Although we at the Handy Shipping Guide usually stay within the parameters offered by freight related matters the stiffening of sanctions against Iran and the lack of diplomatic channels is worrying any freight or logistics company with traffic to or from the region. Now with Russian bank VTB24 closing embassy officials’ bank accounts in a move many see as a warning over Iran’s alleged continued quest to achieve a nuclear weapons capability, the British Government have launched a new propaganda offensive in the form of a dedicated website.

Many shippers and logistics groups have expressed their ongoing concerns and our articles on the tribulations of Christopher Tappin and earlier this month linking to a list of many of the cases being prosecuted by the Department for Homeland Security certainly should warn all freight forwarders to be absolutely sure of the destinations of any and all cargo with the potential for misuse. The judgements and penalties in these cases can prove to be a very blunt, and potentially unfair, set of instruments for those believed to have transgressed the sanction limitations.

With the closure of the British Embassy in Tehran the new website ‘UK for Iranians’ is available in Farsi and English and the Foreign Office says it is intended to provide an accurate and undistorted picture of the UK's policies towards Iran and the Middle East. It provides information about life and culture in the UK, applying for visas and visiting the UK. The improved social media presence, including new Google+, Facebook and Twitter accounts, aims to harness the power of social media, opening up new channels of communication to engage Iranians in open conversation.

Speaking in a video-message for the launch, the Foreign Secretary William Hague highlighted the “tremendous” cultural and people-to-people links between the UK and Iran, in spite of regime attempts to isolate their people from the outside world. He highlighted the UK’s determination to keep open these channels of communication, including online. Announcing the launch of the website Mr Hague addressed the Iranian nation saying:

“The purpose of the website is to give information about the United Kingdom and our policies towards Iran, but also to make it possible to have discussions, to ask questions. We welcome your participation in this site. Relations are clearly difficult between our governments but we want to be as open as we can to the people of Iran”.

Looking forward to Norouz, the Persian New Year next week, he continued:

“We do want links between our people to continue and in the future to be able to thrive and I hope that the year 1391 will be a year, whatever strong disagreement between our governments, in which the history and culture and nature of our peoples can still be celebrated and the contact between them can be strengthened and enjoyed.”