As US seeks Iran nuclear deal, Iranian traders load up on Cheerios, Heinz ketchup
The sanctions aimed at pushing Tehran to accept an Iran nuclear deal have kept Iranian traders in Dubai on their toes. But they say it's US businesses that are most affected.
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Officials from both the Dubai Customs office and the UAE Federal Customs Authority did not agree to repeated requests for interviews. One customs employee who wished to remain anonymous stated: “You can go and see what is on the boats. We have customs procedures in place for security reasons.”Skip to next paragraph
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“The big fear of the US is that goods for dual use can enter Iran, but that’s very vague because anything can be of double use,” says Dr. Seznec, who specializes in the political economy of the Persian Gulf. “For example if you have a Microsoft computer, are you going to use it for personal use or for nuclear development? Of course the US is worried about anything, but ultimately the policy of the US is not to attempt to stop all trade with Iran, but instead its to make Iran extremely expensive, in order to push Iran towards its bankruptcy.”
'Who is losing? The American people.'
Indeed, the West has largely cast the latest round of sanctions as a hardship for Iranians. A top member of the Iranian Business Council (IBC) in Dubai concedes that US sanctions on Iranian banks have definitely affected Iran, but says sanctions on goods are affecting US producers who are losing business from a substantial Iranian market more than Iranians themselves.
“Frankly US sanctions have not affected Iranians that much,” says Morteza Masoumzadeh, the IBC’s senior vice president here. “It is absolutely senseless to apply sanctions to American products like ketchup and office printers. Who is losing here? The American people.”
Back on Deira creek, as boxes of everyday American food items are openly loaded onto the rickety kashtis, it’s clear that Iranians are finding ways to get the basics they need.
“If this is a problem for the US, then America should send their army to Dubai Creek to make sure no Heinz ketchup goes to Iran,” says Mr. Masoumzadeh. “On the creek you’ll find nothing to be used in nuclear energy, missile tech[nology], or uranium enrichment. These are all really normal foodstuffs and home appliances. Americans have banned selling them to Iranians so, no problem – Iranians will buy other brands.”