Bloomberg: U.S., British, French and German diplomats today cited evidence of a growing number of illegal arms exports by Iran, including the seizure earlier this month of rockets intended for the Taliban militia in Afghanistan.
By Bill Varner
U.S., British, French and German diplomats today cited evidence of a growing number of illegal arms exports by Iran, including the seizure earlier this month of rockets intended for the Taliban militia in Afghanistan.
“Germany is concerned about the high number of violation cases that were recently uncovered,” Ambassador Peter Wittig said in remarks to the United Nations Security Council. “Many involve the extensive delivery of weapons from Iran to unstable regions in West Africa and the Middle East.”
Britain’s ambassador, Mark Lyall Grant, reported on the seizure in February of weapons by Afghan and allied troops in Afghanistan of 48 Iranian-made rockets that were being smuggled to the Taliban. The 122-millimeter rockets have a range of 13 miles, the Associated Press reported.
“Detailed technical analysis together with the circumstances of the seizure leave us in no doubt that the weaponry recovered came from Iran, despite the fact that they were crudely doctored to make it look as though they originated in a country represented on this council,” Lyall Grant said. “This is completely unacceptable and not the behavior of a responsible neighbor.”
The other recent case involved cargo seized by Israel on March 15 from a ship en route to Egypt that included six land- to-sea missiles. They would have significantly boosted the “weapons capabilities of terrorist organizations” in the Gaza Strip, Israel’s army said. Also on the boat were 2,500 mortar shells, two radar systems, two missile launchers and about 67,000 bullets for Soviet-made Kalashnikov rifles, the army spokesman’s office said in a statement.
Nigeria seized a shipment of Iranian rockets, grenades and mortars in October, and Italy in September intercepted several tons of what were described in the Security Council as “high potential explosives” alleged to be destined for Syria and the Gaza Strip.
The Security Council has adopted four sets of sanctions intended to block Iran’s suspected development of nuclear weapons. The measures, which demand that Iran halt uranium enrichment, also bar exports of arms and explosives and urge all nations to intercept Iranian cargo suspected of containing banned materials.
Iran, whose mission to the UN didn’t respond to a request for a comment on the allegations, says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.