* UK supports sanctioning the firms
* UK envoy says Iranian firms skirted UN arms embargo
By Louis Charbonneau
UNITED NATIONS, June 12 An independent panel of
experts has recommended that the U.N. Security Council's Iran
sanctions committee add two Iranian firms to a U.N. blacklist
for violating a U.N. ban on arms exports by Tehran.
The recommendation to sanction Iran's Yas Air and SAD
Import-Export is included in a confidential report by the panel
of experts, seen by Reuters last month, which U.N. Security
Council diplomats said was due to be released in the near
That report said Syria remained the top destination for
Iranian arms shipments in violation of a U.N. Security Council
ban on weapons exports by the Islamic Republic.
Britain's Deputy U.N. Ambassador Philip Parham told the U.N.
Security Council o n T uesday that London supported the panel's
recommendation of sanctioning the two firms.
"Iran continues flagrantly to violate this council's
resolutions," he said at a meeting on the United Nations'
sanctions regime for Iran.
"We welcome the panel's recommendations for next steps for
the (Iran sanctions) committee," he said. "We support the two
clear designation proposals, Yas Air and SAD Import Export
Company, for their respective roles in illegal Iran arms
It was not clear when the Iran sanctions committee would
make a decision on whether to add Yas Air and SAD Import Export
to the list of companies 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
The 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.
Parham and German Ambassador Peter Wittig welcomed the
agreement among council members to publish the panel of experts
report, which details Iran's attempts to skirt sanctions. Last
year's report has never been published because Russia opposes
its release, Western diplomats say.
(Reporting By Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Dan Grebler)