By Ken Richards
BASSETERRE, St Kitts (WINN) -- Former minister Dwyer Astaphan has taken fresh aim at the Denzil Douglas administration over the alleged use of St Kitts and Nevis passports by some Iranians seeking to avoid sanctions placed on Iran.
The authorities in Basseterre have had little to say so far on allegations that the US Treasury Department is investigating three Iranians said to be holding St Kitts and Nevis passports and alleged to be using those passports in their sanctions evasion activities.
On his Operation Rescue radio programme on Tuesday, Astaphan reiterated an earlier claim that Basseterre could end up being hurt because of such activity on the part of the Iranians concerned and the companies they are involved in.
“Information has reached Operation Rescue that one of those companies is involved in a project in St Kitts and Nevis. The US Treasury Department is looking at it very watchfully and at least one person is being looked at in relation to facing penalties by the United States,” Astaphan told his radio audience.
The former government minister said he was concerned that the relationship between the United States and St Kitts and Nevis can be damaged over this issue.
“What else would the United States do to a country like this if it were to pursue that line of action, to know that a friendly nation on the doorstep of the United States, which would call on the United States on a day-to-day basis and all the more so in a disaster, is harbouring and giving succour to corporate entities that are involved in a network set up to defy the bans that the United States want to continue?” Astaphan queried.
The Operation Rescue official has already acknowledged that the alleged sanctions busting activity using passports issued from the federation is not something the Denzil Douglas administration would approve of if it were aware of that development.
Astaphan told WINN FM in an earlier interview that he suspects the government in Basseterre was caught off guard by reports of such activity.