The chair of the United Nations committee monitoring the arms embargo imposed on Iran over its nuclear programme voiced deep concern today that violations of the sanctions are continuing.
Ambassador Tsuneo Nishida of Japan told the Security Council, which first imposed the sanctions in 2006, that the committee had received communications from two Member States who reported two separate incidents of violations of provisions of resolution 1747, which imposes a ban on the export and procurement of all arms and related materiel from Iran.
In the first case, a Member State informed the committee that it had seized 13 shipping containers of illegal arms reportedly originating from Iran, and that a comprehensive report on the results of its investigations would be forthcoming.
Another Member State informed the committee that authorities at one of its harbours had seized a container, originating from Iran and destined for Syria, holding the high-potential explosive “T4” or “RDX.”
As in the first case, the Member State is carrying out further investigations, Mr. Nishida said, as he presented his final 90-day report, covering the period from 16 September to December 2010.
“It is a matter of grave concern,” he said, “that the apparent pattern of sanctions violations involving prohibited arms transfers from Iran, first highlighted publicly by the Committee a year ago, is continuing.”
Resolution 1737 of December 2006 banned trade with Iran in all items, materials, equipment, goods and technology which could contribute to the country’s enrichment-related, reprocessing or heavy water-related activities, or to the development of nuclear-weapon delivery systems.
Resolution 1747 of the following year tightened the sanctions by imposing a ban on arms sales and expanding the freeze on assets.
The Council imposed further sanctions against Iran in resolution 1803 in 2008. These included the inspection of cargo suspected of carrying prohibited goods, the tighter monitoring of financial institutions and the extension of travel bans and asset freezes, over its nuclear programme.
Then in June of this year, the Council imposed a fourth round of sanctions through resolution 1929, in which it also decided that Iran shall not acquire an interest in any commercial activity in another State involving uranium mining, production or use of nuclear materials and technology.
Iran’s nuclear programme – which its officials have stated is for peaceful purposes, but some other countries contend is driven by military ambitions – has been a matter of international concern since the discovery in 2003 that the country had concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).