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UN reports more alleged violations of sanctions against Iran over nuclear issue

Voicing “serious concern,” the chair of the United Nations committee monitoring the arms embargo imposed on Iran over its nuclear programme today reported two additional alleged violations involving material related to fuel enrichment or weapons delivery systems.

“While the increase in the number of reported sanctions violations is a matter of serious concern, Member States’ continuing readiness to report these violations is positive and should be encouraged,” Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan of Turkey told the Security Council in the latest regular 90-day report on the committee’s activities.

“Reports of sanctions violations by Member States represent an important source of information regarding patterns of procurement and means of circumventing sanctions,” he said, adding that the committee and its panel of experts are examining the cases.

The current alleged violations involve paragraph three of Council Resolution 1737 of 2006, which calls on all States to prevent the supply directly or indirectly from their territories or by their flag vessels or aircraft of all items that could contribute to Iran’s enrichment-related, reprocessing or heavy water-related activities, or to the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems.

Iran’s nuclear programme – which it says is for energy production but which other countries maintain is for making nuclear weapons – has been a matter of international concern since the discovery in 2003 that it had concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Resolution 1737 was imposed in December 2006, and strengthened by resolution 1747 the following year which imposed a ban on arms sales to or from Iran, and expanded an existing freeze on assets.

Last December the then committee chair, Ambassador Tsuneo Nishida of Japan, reported two violations of resolution 1747. In the first case, a Member State reported seizing 13 shipping containers of illegal arms reportedly originating from Iran. In the second, 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.”

Today Mr. Apakan said a committee panel of experts had investigated one of these cases and independently confirmed it “with the exemplary cooperation of the reporting State.”

The Council imposed a third round of sanctions in resolution 1803 in 2008, including the inspection of cargo suspected of carrying prohibited goods, tighter monitoring of financial institutions and the extension of travel bans and asset freezes.

Last June, it imposed a fourth round through resolution 1929, in which it also ruled 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.

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