BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
    You are in: Business  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
E-Commerce
Economy
Market Data
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
 Thursday, 16 January, 2003, 17:52 GMT
UK sells Iran 'military' equipment
Iranian petrochemical plant
Embargoes make it difficult for Iran to buy spare parts

Britain has given the go-ahead for the export to Iran of equipment that can be used in anti-personnel land mines.

Export licences for the "dual-use" equipment were issued despite a 10-year-old unilateral arms embargo against Iran.

The risk of these goods being diverted for use by the Iranian military is minimal

Foreign Office
Foreign Office Ministers Mike O'Brien and Baroness Amos confirmed the government had issued the licences.

"HMX pellets which could be suitable for use in anti-personnel mines" were approved, said Mr O'Brien in a written answer to Parliament.

"The government is satisfied that these HMX pellets, specifically designed for cutting collars and perforating tubes, are intended only for the legitimate end-use stated," he said, referring to the oil and gas industry.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman denied it meant Britain had loosened its embargo against Iran.

The Middle East Association, which is heavily involved with British trade with Iran, told BBC News Online that the government had very strict criteria for allowing exports.

"Providing the government is pretty certain who the end user is, they will let it through," said trade director Michael Thomas.

'Minimal' risk

On Monday the government had said it was permitting the export of aircraft engine inspection equipment that also had a dual use.

"These synchros were made as military electronic equipment. However, the Government are satisfied they are to be used only for the upkeep of the Fokker 100, a civil aircraft," Foreign Office Minister Baroness Amos said in a written answer to the Lords.

Tay 650 engine
Rolls Royce sells the Tay 650 engine for Fokker 100s

"The risk of these goods being diverted for use by the Iranian military is minimal," she said of the latest exports.

Rolls Royce, which sells the equipment, told BBC News Online it had no knowledge of a military use for the tool.

Last year the BBC revealed the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) had given permission for the export of beryllium, a metal vital in the production of nuclear bombs, to Iran.

Britain has imposed an arms embargo, but not a trade embargo, against Iran since 1993 and has signed up to an international protocol that bans the sale of beryllium to named countries, including Iran.

Other exceptions have recently been made to export dual-use goods.

'Axis of evil'

In 2001, an export licence was issued to supply industrial gas turbine parts to Iran for civilian use even though some of its components were considered dual-use.

President George Bush named Iran as part of an "axis of evil", accusing the its government of sponsoring terrorism without offering specific evidence.

American legislation and presidential orders ban US companies from investing or operating in Iran, and even in theory impose sanctions on third-party companies making major investments here.

See also:

28 Oct 02 | Business
23 Sep 02 | Politics
03 Mar 02 | Business
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Business stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Business stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes