Monday, December 3, 2012

UANI Calls on Philtex to End Improper Classification of Iranian Vessels


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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 3, 2012
Contact: Nathan Carleton, press@uani.com 
Phone: (212) 554-3296

UANI Calls on Philtex to End Improper Classification of Iranian Vessels
Company Run by American Chris E. Warren Certifies Iranian Vessels Under False Pretenses
 
New York, NY - On Monday, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) called on the Philtex corporation, and its Director and President, Chris E. Warren, to stop its improper classifying of Iranian vessels and end its relationship with the Iranian regime.

Philtex is a corporation based in the UAE, run by Warren: an American who resides in the U.S. and works out of Philtex's Texas offices. UANI understands that Philtex recently established a Philippines-based front company misleadingly named the "American Register of Shipping," in order to provide classification services to at least seven vessels owned by the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), including two new Chinese-built Very Large Crude Carriers that are vital to Iran's oil shipping industry.

Neither Philtex nor the "American Register of Shipping" maintain public lists of the vessels or the entities they provide services for, a practice that is standard among responsible and reputable members of the international shipping industry.

UANI is calling on Philtex to immediately cease its provision of maritime services for Iranian vessels and end its relationship with the Iranian regime.

In a letter sent November 30, 2012 to Warren and "American Register of Shipping" Surveyor, Captain Khaldoon Kalla, UANI CEO, Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, wrote:

United Against Nuclear Iran ("UANI") is writing to express its concern with Philtex Corporation's ("Philtex") extensive support for Iran's illicit shipping activities in violation of international sanctions. Specifically, UANI understands that Philtex recently established the American Register of Shipping ("ARS") in order to provide classification services to at least seven (7) vessels owned by the National Iranian Tanker Company ("NITC"), including two new Chinese-built Very Large Crude Carriers ("VLCCs") that are vital to Iran's oil shipping industry. Philtex is also reported to have fraudulently granted Tanzanian flagging rights to NITC vessels. By providing these key services to Iran's shipping industry, Philtex undermines international sanctions and enables the Iranian regime to continue its illicit nuclear proliferation activities as well as arms shipments to its terrorist proxies and regional allies including the brutal Syrian regime. UANI calls on Philtex to clarify its involvement with Iran's shipping sector and to immediately cease its provision of maritime services until Philtex can confirm that no Iranian vessels are beneficiaries of such services.

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UANI is particularly concerned that neither Philtex nor ARS maintain public lists of the vessels or entities they provide services for, a practice that is standard among responsible and reputable members of the international shipping industry. Accordingly, UANI calls on Philtex and ARS to make public the identities of all business partners and serviced vessels, including a list of all vessels and entities receiving classification, flagging or other maritime services arising out of or relating in any way to Iran - particularly those entities and vessels that fraudulently conceal their true Iranian identity.

Additionally, despite recent media attention, Philtex has yet to provide a satisfactory explanation of its involvement in Tanzania's reflagging of NITC vessels in its capacity as manager of the Tanzania Zanzibar International Register of Shipping ("TZIRS"). Surely Philtex understands the disconnect whereby it self-identifies a member of its leadership as the "deputy registrar of the Tanzanian shipping registry" but is unable to provide an explanation of the continued and renewed presence of NITC tankers flying Tanzania's flag.

Furthermore, UANI understands that Philtex facilitates the NITC's deceptive practice of obscuring the ownership of its vessels by registering them through front companies. The Iranian regime is known to have registered front companies in Belize and the British Virgin Islands ("BVI") in order to evade international sanctions that affected its previous safe havens of Malta and Cyprus. Philtex conveniently advertises its marine consultancy services, including the "Formation of International Business Company," in both Belize and the BVI.
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Please also be advised that any U.S. persons, wherever they operate, who violate U.S. regulations on trade with Iran may be subject to severe civil or criminal penalties. Specifically, the Iranian Transactions Regulations state that "a person who willfully commits, willfully attempts to commit, or willfully conspires to commit, or aids and abets in the commission of a violation of any license, order, regulation, or prohibition shall, upon conviction, be fined no more than $1,000,000, or, if a natural person, may be imprisoned for not more than 20 years, or both." These grave consequences should be of particular concern to Mr. Warren as he is both president of the company and a U.S. citizen.

Additionally, UANI has contacted the governments of Belize and the British Virgin Islands (BVI), where the Iranian regime is known to have registered front companies, and where Philtex is now advertising its marine consultancy services. UANI has requested that Belize and the BVI "investigate the presence of Iranian entities, specifically NITC front companies" within their nations.

UANI has highlighted the shipping industry as an area where the international community can further pressure Iran. In a March 17 Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, six UANI board members wrote that "the world must deny Iran's access to international shipping, a move that would severely affect the regime given its dependence on global trade and seaborne crude oil exports."

All thirteen of the world's major shipping services have now stopped certifying Iranian vessels following UANI's campaign, including Bureau Veritas, Germanischer Lloyd, the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping, Korean Register of Shipping, China Classification Society, and ClassNK. UANI has also announced that Barbados, Hong Kong, Moldova and Mongolia have stopped their reflagging of Iranian vessels.

UANI has requested a reply from Philtex by December 7, 2012.

Click here to read UANI's full letter to Philtex.
Click here to read UANI's letter to Belize.
Click here to read UANI's full letter to BVI.
Click here to learn more about UANI's Shipping Campaign.

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United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) is a program of the American Coalition Against Nuclear Iran, Inc., a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran should concern every American and be unacceptable to the community of nations. Since 1979 the Iranian regime, most recently under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's leadership, has demonstrated increasingly threatening behavior and rhetoric toward the US and the West. Iran continues to defy the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United Nations in their attempts to monitor its nuclear activities. A number of Arab states have warned that Iran's development of nuclear weapons poses a threat to Middle East stability and could provoke a regional nuclear arms race. In short, the prospect of a nuclear armed Iran is a danger to world peace.

United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) is a non-partisan, broad-based coalition that is united in a commitment to prevent Iran from fulfilling its ambition to become a regional super-power possessing nuclear weapons.  UANI is an issue-based coalition in which each coalition member will have its own interests as well as the collective goal of advancing an Iran free of nuclear weapons.


The Objectives of United Against a Nuclear Iran
  1. Inform the public about the nature of the Iranian regime, including its desire and intent to possess nuclear weapons, as well as Iran's role as a state sponsor of global terrorism, and a major violator of human rights at home and abroad;
  2. Heighten awareness nationally and internationally about the danger that a nuclear armed Iran poses to the region and the world;
  3. Mobilize public support, utilize media outreach, and persuade our elected leaders to voice a robust and united American opposition to a nuclear Iran;
  4. Lay the groundwork for effective US policies in coordination with European and other allies;
  5. Persuade the regime in Tehran to desist from its quest for nuclear weapons, while striving not to punish the Iranian people, and;
  6. Promote efforts that focus on vigorous national and international, social, economic, political and diplomatic measures.
UANI is led by an advisory board of outstanding national figures representing all sectors of our country.


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