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April 01, 2009 

Wall Street Journal Article on UAE Nuclear Deal Addresses Export Control Concerns

Thursday's Wall Street Journal contains an extensive story entitled "Oil-Rich Arab State Pushes Nuclear Bid With U.S. Help" on the United Arab Emirate's (UAE) efforts to build a commercial nuclear power facility and the upcoming debate in Congress on the Agreement for Cooperation Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy (123 Agreement) that the U.S. and the UAE signed in January of this year.

The article also discusses concerns over the UAE's involvement in Iran's nuclear program and its reputation as a diversion risk. For example, the article notes that:

Most critics of the program, including some U.S. lawmakers and nonproliferation experts, believe the U.A.E. is unlikely to turn to nuclear weapons. But they have reservations about the country's past role in the flow of sensitive military technologies. The rogue Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan used the port of Dubai to transfer centrifuge technologies to countries like Libya, according to American and U.N. officials. Mr. Khan's network grew to include nuclear sales to North Korea and Iran, before American and international investigators shut him down in 2003.

Iran has allegedly obtained materials for its missile program from front companies based in Dubai. Iran and the U.A.E. are trading partners, exchanging more than $5.5 billion in goods in 2007, according to the European Union.

With respect to export controls, the article indicates that UA.E. officials have admitted that they have been "lax in monitoring the flow of sensitive technologies" through its ports but that "enforcement of U.N. sanctions against Iran and tightened business-license regulations for Iranian nationals" has occurred. The article also indicates that during the past three years "U.A.E. officials say, they have shut down 40 Iranian companies operating in Dubai over either export-control violations or lack of proper licenses. In the past six months, Emirati authorities have also blocked more then 10 shipments of goods for potential military use heading to Iran through Dubai, largely from Asia."

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