U.N. publishes report on Iran arms trade with Syria

UNITED NATIONS Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:48pm EDT

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - A U.N. Security Council committee has published a report on Iranian sanctions violations, including shipments of weapons to Syria in breach of a U.N. ban on weapons exports by the Islamic Republic.

The Security Council has imposed four rounds of sanctions on Iran for refusing to halt its nuclear enrichment program, which the United States, European Union and their allies suspect is at the heart of a weapons program. Iran rejects the allegation and refuses to halt what it says is a peaceful energy program.

The report appeared on the committee website on Thursday, diplomats told Reuters on Friday. The report, which Reuters reported on last month, said that Syria remains the top destination for Iranian arms shipments.

Iran, like Russia, is one of Syria's few allies as it presses ahead with a 16-month-old assault on opposition forces determined to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Western diplomats said they were pleased the report was made public. Initially they said they feared Russia would block it as it did last year's report on Iran, which has yet to be made public due to Russian objections.

Publication of the report, the diplomats said, will likely add to the pressure on Iran to comply with U.N. demands about curbing sensitive nuclear activities as major powers press ahead with negotiations with the Islamic Republic aimed at convincing it that defiance of international sanctions will be too costly.

The new report, submitted by a panel of sanctions-monitoring experts to the Security Council's Iran sanctions committee, said the group investigated three large illegal shipments of Iranian weapons over the past year.

"Iran has continued to defy the international community through illegal arms shipments," it stated.

"Two of these cases involved (Syria), as were the majority of cases inspected by the Panel during its previous mandate, underscoring that Syria continues to be the central party to illicit Iranian arms transfers," the report said.

The third shipment involved rockets that Britain said last year were headed for Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.

The kinds of arms that Iran was attempting to send to Syria before the shipments were seized by Turkish authorities included assault rifles, machineguns, explosives, detonators, 60mm and 120mm mortal shells and other items, the panel said.

The most recent incident described in the report was an arms shipment discovered in a truck that Turkey seized on its border with Syria in February. Turkey announced last year that it was imposing an arms embargo on Syria.


The expert panel recommended adding three firms to a U.N. blacklist of companies that have aided Iran's nuclear or missile programs, or have helped it evade U.N. sanctions.

The three firms recommended for blacklisting are airline Yas Air, SAD Import Export Company, and Chemical Industries and Development of Materials group. The report said Yas Air has been involved in illicit arms shipments to Syria.

It was not clear when the Iran sanctions committee would make a decision on whether or not to add the three Iranian companies to the list of entities facing an international asset freeze and banishment from doing business worldwide.

Earlier this year the U.S. Treasury Department imposed U.S. sanctions on Yas Air, which is an Iranian cargo airline, along with three Iranian military officials and a Nigerian shipping agent for supporting illegal arms shipments to the Middle East and Africa.

The 67-page report also discusses Iran's attempts to circumvent sanctions on its nuclear program but notes that the four rounds of punitive measures the 15-nation council imposed on Iran between 2006 and 2010 are having an impact.

"Sanctions are slowing Iran's procurement of some critical items required for its prohibited nuclear program," it said. "At the same time prohibited activities continue, including uranium enrichment."

A similar U.N. report on North Korean sanctions violations was also made public on Friday.

(Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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Comments (3)
ciaspy wrote:
Iran is flying weapons into Syria every week. Stick that in your report.

Jun 29, 2012 12:54am EDT  --  Report as abuse
levit wrote:
AND the USA with it’s tyrannical women hating, democracy suppressing allies Saudi & Qatar is sending weapons to Al-Queda insurgents in Syria. Syria is the new Afghanistan attracting all the funnies that weren’t killed in Afghanistan.

Jun 30, 2012 10:19am EDT  --  Report as abuse
IRfranck wrote:
The intelligent person cannot take this stuff seriously. Ask a five year old to Google where are the locations of the companies that profit most from the selling of arms and he’ll get the answer within seconds. Obviously, the companies that supply the world with the most dangerous weapons each year are located in the very countries that condemn Iran for selling arms to Syria. See, The SIPRI Top 100 Arms-producing and Military Services Companies. So the U.S., U.K., France, Russia, Italy etc. can profit from this bazaar of arms sales to troubled spots around the Globe, whereas countries like Iran may be cut off so it will not interfere with the plans of those who intend to dominate the world through the force of arms or the control of trade. A decade and more when I was a student of International Relations at Boston University, the emphasis was on Free Trade. Today the champions of free trade are a dying breed, and what we have are decisions that restrict trade, and disrupt the smooth running of mechanisms that if left alone could actually further the aims of peace and trade. The Security Council in the UN is doing little to follow its mandate to bring security to the world. Its true purpose is to continue the decades of dominance of the North over the South. It is the Champion of War – not Peace. For the last three decade every permanent member of the Security Council (with exception to China) has been at war with a nation of the South. The U.S. has been at war for the last two decades. Writing the word “illegal” repeatedly in an article will not convince the critical mind from seeing that it is a mere attempt to pull wool over the eyes of your audience.

Jun 30, 2012 10:38am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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