Germany calls on Oman to squeeze smugglers

Foreign minister advises Gulf state to toughen up in light of Iran sanctions
Sanctions more effective when others take part, claims Westerwelle.
By Shane McGinley
Mon 26 Mar 2012 02:27 PM

Germany has called on Oman and other Gulf states to take action to stop smuggling into Iran, with up to 500 boats reportedly ferrying goods to the sanction-battered country each day.

While on a visit to Oman for talks with Sultan Qaboos, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle called on the GCC countries to tighten their borders in a bid to prevent the escalation of tension in the region.

"This sanctions policy is that much more effective when more countries worldwide take part, and that is why we are trying to convince our interlocutors to participate," Westerwelle was quoted as saying.

Westerwelle said this included implementing US and EU sanctions "but also stopping circumvention".

"This applies not only to one country or border, rather, as we know, to very many," he added.

His comments come as an Omani customs agent told the AFP news agency last month that around 500 boats a day were making the journey across the Arabian Sea from Oman to Iran.

However, Westerwelle did downplay any military action against Iran, describing it as "counterproductive".

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