While US President Joe Biden and his administration is making frantic bids in lifting sanctions on Iran and unfreezing billions of dollars, Iranian regime with the active help of Palestinian Hamas has been selling bitumen to several Muslim nations in the world. While for years, Iranian bitumen and other petroleum products were sold to various nations with the false label of being manufactured in the United Arab Emirates, according to a report in vernacular news portal, while Iran has been selling bitumen and other petroleum products to Bangladesh and other countries under the false label of being manufactured in a third country, especially UAE, this is for the first time Iranian regime has sent an Iranian flag carrier ship loaded with bitumen to Bangladesh, which may cause serious consequences for the recipient country, as violating international sanctions is a serious offense.
Bangla Insider news portal in its report claims, while Iran has been selling bitumen manufactured by them through third country for years, this is for the first time, Iranian bitumen has arrived in Bangladesh sea port in a number of Iranian-flag-carrier vessel. The news portal further said, meanwhile one of the Iranian-flag-carrier vessels have unloaded the bitumen consignment while others are waiting to be unloaded.
The report said, local trading companies named Jahangir & Brothers and National Development Engineering Limited imported Iranian made bitumen in Iranian-flag-carrier vessels between June 14-17. All of the vessels have anchored in the Chittagong Port waiting for unloading of the consignments. Both the vessels arrived in Bangladesh via UAE port.
Consignment of bitumen for National Development Engineering Limited arrived in Chittagong Port through Iranian flag-carrier vessel ‘Negar’. The IMO number of this vessel is 9165839. The total capacity of ‘Negar’ is 23 thousand tons.
According to information, an Indian trading company named Raj Specialty Chemicals Private Limited is involved in selling Iranian petroleum products including bitumen to various countries, including Bangladesh by dodging international sanctions.
Although a source in the United Arab Emirates has confirmed that there is no bitumen production factory in the country, it is strange that the country has been selling hundreds and thousands of tons of Iranian made bitumen to various countries by dodging international laws.
According to Banglanews24 report, bitumen carrying ships anchor in Emirati seaports after loading the bitumen from Iran, a country under economic sanctions. The bitumen actually comes from Iran, but the label changes take place in the port in the UAE. Later the bitumen laden ships start their journey to different destinations including Bangladesh. Most importantly, Iranian racket is cheating the buyers with bitumen mixed with kerosene.
The banglanews24 report said, on investigation it was found that UAE does not produce bitumen at all. Looking at the website of UAE-based bitumen export company Global Infinity General Trading FZE, it was found that the company is registered internationally under the name ‘Galaxy Energy’ since 2012.
Claiming as Dubai-based leading bitumen exporter, the company claims that they are producing around 200,000 tonnes of bitumen a year.
Contacted, the company’s sales expert and accounts managers Tina Taghavi shared detailed information on the bitumen quality, price and other information. The company sells 80/100-grade bitumen at around $170.
Tina Tagabi also informed that there is no bitumen plant in UAE. Actually, the bitumen comes from Iran’s Al-Abbas port to UAE Jebel Ali Port.
On Sunday (May 23), Tina Tagabi said their brand is registered in Dubai and their company also has offices in this city. All processes related to the sale, transaction and export of bitumen are completed in Dubai. The company also has a warehouse in the city. But they do not produce bitumen in the UAE.
The product comes from Iran. Only labelling is done in Dubai. To gain credibility, she showed a few LC documents under which they have already exported Iranian bitumen to Bangladesh. Tina even mentioned their business relationship with several organizations in Bangladesh. However, she declined to disclose the names of any organization.
This correspondent contacted an Iranian company on Monday. Isfahan Bitumen Production Company is located in the Sejzi Industrial Zone of Isfahan province in Iran. It has the capacity to produce about 2 lakh tonnes of bitumen per year.
A sales officer of the company said if any Bangladeshi importer wants to import bitumen from Iran, they will take care of the whole process. He said they are regularly exporting bitumen to different countries including Bangladesh. However, this cannot be done directly due to trade restrictions. So the company uses different ports of nearby UAE. For this, they have to liaise with various suppliers based in the UAE.
Iranian IRGC and Hamas behind illegal trade in Iranian petroleum products
According to investigative reporters of Weekly Blitz, Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and mega-terror outfit Hamas have jointly established trading offices in the United Arab Emirates, which are dealing in various types of petroleum products from Iran, including bitumen. Our investigators further found that the major portion of the cash generated by the IRGC-Hamas trading establishments in UAE are going towards buying of weapons and explosives as well as towards transnational drug trafficking activities run by IRGC, Hezbollah and Hamas.