UNITED NATIONS Dec 20 A U.N. Security Council
committee on Thursday imposed sanctions on two Iranian firms
that violated a U.N. arms embargo on Tehran by shipping weapons
to the Syrian government.
The move was welcomed by the United States. U.S. Ambassador
to the United Nations Susan Rice said in a statement that the
two firms blacklisted by the Iran sanctions committee were
"significantly involved in Iranian arms smuggling, including
smuggling to Syria."
"These companies - Yas Air and SAD Import Export Company -
were responsible for shipping ammunition, assault rifles,
machine guns, mortar shells and other arms from Iran to Syria,"
"The committee's decision underscores the growing
international concern over Iran's use of the transportation and
shipping sectors as a means to export arms and conduct other
illicit activities in violation of U.N. sanctions," Rice said.
A U.N. panel of experts that monitors compliance with the
Iran sanctions regime had recommended earlier this year that the
sanctions committee add cargo airline Yas Air, SAD Import Export
Company, and one other firm to the U.N.
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.
Among the punitive measures Iran was hit with was a ban on
The Security Council has not banned arms sales to Syria,
which means countries like Russia can theoretically continue
supplying the government there with weapons as it struggles to
suppress a 21-month-long uprising by rebels seeking to oust
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.