UK firm 'shocked' by claims it broke Iran sanctions

Situated on a small industrial estate in Middlesex, Insultec Ltd has few obvious attributes of an important supplier to Iran's secret nuclear programme. For the last 20 years, the company has quietly gone about its business selling insulation for oil refineries and gas plants. Then it found itself the subject of a secret American diplomatic telegram sent from Azerbaijan.

The company, which employs 22 people at its plant in West Drayton, yesterday declared itself "shocked" and issued a flat denial of allegations in the cable released by Wikileaks, which claims that the company had "secretly provided cladding, thermal insulation and ancillary equipment to the government of Iran".

Thrust into the spotlight of worldwide media scrutiny, Insultec and its directors were fielding enquiries from newspapers and broadcasters around the globe about their unwanted new status as an "Iran sanctions-buster".

Quoting a UK-educated Iranian businessman as its source, the American memo stated that materials allegedly sent by Insultec via Turkey and the United Arab Emirates "could be used in nuclear reactor construction" and that the British company has "maintained a sanctions-evading relationship with Iranian government companies for some time". The document was written last March in the US embassy in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku.

The cable, entitled "Iranian source names 'UK-registered' company as Iran sanctions-buster", went on to suggest that unknown materials sent in recent months under an Insultec label had ended up at Bushehr, the Russian-operated nuclear power station in southern Iran.

The only problem was that Insultec has not done business inside Iran for around a decade – prior to the imposition of trade sanctions against Tehran. A company spokesman said it would not contemplate exporting to Tehran for "a whole range of ethical, legal and practical reasons". In a sign of the pitfalls for governments generated by raw intelligence from a single source, Insultec said that it was the victim of a smear campaign by a former sub-contractor with contacts in the American diplomatic corps.

In a statement, the company, which pointed out that its client base consists of engineering and construction companies largely based in Britain, Europe and Japan, said: "Insultec Ltd is shocked and completely denies the allegations regarding supplying materials for nuclear reactors to Iran. Insultec is investigating the source of this false allegation, although it appears to be a disgruntled sub-contractor, who at the time of the allegation was engaged in tense negotiations regarding disputed claims from him for a project in Azerbaijan."

The company added: "Insultec has and always will work within the legal requirement of English law and international law."

Ian Crosby, the company's general manager, told The Independent that it had previously supplied insulation materials to Iran but the exports took place long before the imposition of United Nations sanctions in 2006.

He said the company had carried out an audit of all its orders in the last four years and nothing had been sent with its knowledge either directly or indirectly to Iran.

He described the claim that it had built up a "sanctions-evading relationship" with Iranian companies as "laughable".

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Nursery Manager

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Nursery Manager Long term Ran...

Sales Consultant – Permanent – West Sussex – £24-£25k plus commission and other benefits

£24000 - £25000 Per Annum plus company car and commission: Clearwater People S...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£45 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Supply SEN Support Jobs in Bris...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£45 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Supply SEN Support Jobs in Glou...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain