Hansa India: UK bans all commerce with IRISL

The UK Treasury on Oct. 12 ordered financial services companies to cease all commercial relations with the Iranian ocean carrier IRISL amid concerns it has been involved in helping Tehran to develop nuclear weapons. The Treasury's announcement follows a report by German magazine Der Spiegel that a major arms consignment was confiscated from the IRISL-chartered Hansa India at Malta Freeport on Friday. The 3,425-TEU vessel was reported to be en route to Syria. [Malta reports:The cargo consisted of a large consignment of cartridge cases and copper discs.]

The order, issued under the Counter Terrorism Act 2008, also applies to Iran's Bank Mellat.

"Vessels of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines have transported goods for both Iran's ballistic missile and nuclear programmes," the Treasury said in a statement.

"Financial and credit institutions will no longer be able to enter into new transactions or business relationships with these entities nor to continue with existing transactions or business relationships unless they are licensed" by the Treasury.

Iran's Bank Mellat declared the UK Treasury's order to impose conditional restriction on the bank's direct transactions with British financial institutions will not lead to freeze of Bank Mellat's assets in the European country.

The decision means further direct financial transactions between Bank Mellat and UK institutions are legal if they are carried out under more supervision and specific condition, does not include indirect financial exchanges of the bank and it does not involve restriction on trade companies and commercial institutions linked to Bank Mellat.

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