• January 20, 2016


I see over on my good friend Eddie Powers site detail of the decision by the Isle of Man to lift sanctions with Iran (in line of course with a decision of the UK and EU).

The detail can be found on the government web pages but apparently Manx businesses can now conduct various financial transactions hitherto forbidden. I suppose it opens up opportunities to garner business with a country that still has the death penalty for children and continues the practice of stoning people to death.

Still it’s the price of opening Iran up to the West and improving diplomatic relations.

Who knows if the Manx government is on the ball it may even get to the bottom of that allegation years ago that Iran circumvented sanctions by having vessels of its State run shipping company IRISL managed via the Isle of Man.

At the time the Israeli Embassy in London told us that not only were vessels linked to Mann trading for Iran in breach sanctions but they were actually involved in shipping arms into the middle east and stoking the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.

At the time categorically the Manx government denied it and said that the assertion was not correct.

However interestingly the Israeli’s were quite specific and in an email to us in September 2010 which they said:

“Given that in November 2009 a Douglas-registered ship (`Visea’), owned by Douglas-based `Byfleet Shipping’ transferred 320 tons worth of arms shipments, including 9,000 mortar shells, thousands of 107-mm Katyusha rockets, 600 122-mm rockets, and hundreds of thousands of rounds of Iranian ammunition, onto another ship, `Francop’, destined for Hezbollah, it seems that the Isle of Man government may indeed have acted in breach of UN Security Council Resolution 1747.”

Now this was quite interesting because League relations with the Israeli Embassies in both London and Dublin had never been particularly ‘close’. We had for example on several occasions over the years criticised there armed forces for actions against civilians in both the occupied territories of Palestine and South Lebanon. We had condemned attacks on UN peacekeepers including the Irish contingent.

So here they were telling us (hardly their bosom buddies) about Manx connections to arms shipments. However the then Chief Minister Tony Brown told us they were wrong!

Here’s a BBC Link to the story:


It takes a bit of believing that Mossad (presumably) didn’t have as good intelligence as the Manx Chief Ministers Office!

Anyway back then there was no way of checking because IRISL swiftly moved its Manx registered vessels on to another jurisdiction (Panama) and the issue couldn’t be pursued.

But now Mann and the Iranians are mates again – however there was one ‘fly in the ointment’ when the sanctions removal was voted through – Leonard Singer MLC who voted against.

Perhaps Leonard could ask the Chief Minister to look into the shadowy arms dealings five years ago connecting Mann to dodgy Iranian shipping firm (IRISL). I do hope like the Rwanda arms trading files the evidence has not all been shredded.

I’m not posting more links but if you’re interested go to the Celtic League main site and type ‘IRISL’ in the search box – top left – you’ll get a ‘shed load’!

Photo: Munitions Israel said at the time were transhipped from a Manx registered vessel


Issued by: The Celtic News



The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues


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