Fans of economic sanctions against Iran will have read here and elsewhere that Israeli legal lobbyist Shurat HaDin has Inmarsat in its crosshairs for alleged infringements of US trade rules.
Further to Inmarsat’s brush-off of the group’s letter and some media articles in which it appeared to confirm that its equipment – mostly Inmarsat B, C and Fleet – was indeed installed on Iranian tankers – Shurat HaDin has been back in touch with Inmarsat and is keen to ensure readers are up to speed on this story.
Having sought further response from Inmarsat (and not getting one) we can only conclude that they feel the defence rests. According to the Space News article, an Inmarsat LESO (yes it was that long ago) and ISP sold airtime and installed equipment to Iranian vessels at a time when Inmarsat could not have known who the end user was.
Shurat HaDin disagrees with this analysis of course. Of particular interest was its contention that ‘US law trumps international or contractual agreements’ which deserved some clarification.
In a statement sent to MaritimeInsight, Shurat HaDin said:
“Inmarsat is a company which operates in the United States in Miami and in Washington DC and is bound by US criminal statutes/laws. This means that even if it has some sort of contract or other international agreement, US criminal law is paramount even if it contradicts the former. In other words, if you are a foreign citizen committing a crime in America, even though it is not a crime in your country, you will still have to face justice in America.”
Leaving aside whether SOLAS can seriously be termed ‘some sort of contract or other international agreement’, it goes on to largely repeat its position and accuse Inmarsat of admitting violation. It draws parallels with the charges laid by Benjamin Lawsky, Superintendent of New York’s Department for Financial Services against Standard Chartered that the bank violated sanctions by hiding the fact that it was processing transactions with Iran, a charge it seems to have bought off with a fine of $340m, so far with its US banking licence intact.
While StanChart has fallen on its sword, it has done so despite complaints that the charges brought by Lawsky were the actions of a rogue regulator, or self-appointed moral guardian, who went for glory rather than using the most appropriate channels.
“Regarding our future activities – Maybe we will move against other service providers. One needs to remember that this is not the first time we have warned Inmarsat, and this is not the first time we have targeted technology companies providing services to militant organizations or regimes. We previously warned Verizon, Twitter and others for their dealings.”
That’s the same Twitter presumably that along with other borderless social media was a lifeline for the valiant but ultimately doomed Green Revolution in Iran which bravely demonstrated for political reform and personal freedom. Still, consider yourselves duly warned.