Harsher economic sanctions on Iran will result in a further squeeze in trade volumes with the UAE, said Patrick Murphy, a legal director at Clyde & Co who specialises in trade sanctions and shipping .
Describing the latest US sanctions on Iran as a new chapter of economic isolation, he said: "In a short time, the US will define its list of all firms and individuals who are trying to violate the sanctions imposed on Iran ."
Effective July 1, 2013, the US is liable to penalise persons anywhere in the world, not just US nationals, who are engaging in trade with the Iranian shipping , ship-building and energy sectors. This potentially exposes those persons to asset freezes, travel bans or being cut off from the US financial sector. In addition to this, the European Union (EU) has already slapped penalties on companies and individuals who provide services to the Iranian shipping, ship-building and energy sectors.
Murphy said: "Iranian shipments can still come to Jebel Ali; shipments can go from the UAE to Iran . However, some goods or services used in connection with the ship-building sector are prohibited."
"People or firms who are involved in financing or building vessels or financing to Iran or trading with refit items like steam turbines, propellers and navigational instruments will face US penalties."
Citing the type of penalties, Murphy said that potential penalties fall into general restrictions on trade and finance, including denial of US financial services, denial of specific export licence, denial of bidding for US government contracts, in addition to restriction on travel.
On July 3, the US designated several companies that are active in the shipping and energy sectors for breaching Iranian sanctions . IRISL (Shipping), NIOC (Energy), NITC (Shipping), South Shipping Lines Iran Company (shipping), Tidewater Middle East Company (port operator) have been blacklisted.