U.N. Experts Flag Scope of Iran’s Banned Arms Acquisitions

Global Security Newswire Staff
Global Security Newswire Staff
May 12, 2014, 9:16 a.m.

U.N. ana­lysts said an ap­par­ent drop in Ir­an’s arms-us­able im­ports may mean Tehran is hid­ing banned ac­quis­i­tions with grow­ing suc­cess, Re­u­ters re­ports.

The de­vel­op­ment may al­tern­ately re­flect a slow­down in Ir­an’s ef­forts to ob­tain atom­ic and mis­sile com­pon­ents in breach of in­ter­na­tion­al sanc­tions, says an un­re­leased U.N. Pan­el of Ex­perts as­sess­ment de­scribed in a Monday news art­icle. The drop-off in de­tec­ted pro­cure­ment at­tempts co­in­cides with a series of mul­ti­lat­er­al dis­cus­sions in­ten­ded to de­fuse fears that Tehran’s atom­ic activ­it­ies are geared to­ward nuc­le­ar-arms de­vel­op­ment.

The doc­u­ment high­lights an “on­go­ing” pan­el in­vest­ig­a­tion of ti­tani­um tubes found hid­den in­side steel pip­ing sent from China to Ir­an. The ana­lys­is notes no spe­cif­ic atom­ic uses for the com­pon­ents, which were re­ques­ted by the Ir­a­ni­an firm Ocean Lotka In­ter­na­tion­al Ship­ping and For­ward­ing.

The U.N. ex­perts ad­vised oth­er na­tions to in­crease their scru­tiny of in­ter­me­di­ary com­pan­ies, warn­ing that Ir­an could tap such en­tit­ies to hide the ul­ti­mate re­cip­i­ents and uses of pro­hib­ited tech­no­lo­gies.

“In three cases in­spec­ted un­der the cur­rent man­date, names of freight for­ward­ers were re­cor­ded on ship­ping doc­u­ment­a­tion in the place of con­signors or con­sign­ees,” the doc­u­ment states.

The ex­pert pan­el sep­ar­ately ref­er­enced a probe still in pro­gress on pos­sible steps to pro­cure valves from Ger­many and In­dia for use at Ir­an’s Arak heavy-wa­ter re­act­or. Cit­ing data from Ger­man pro­sec­utors, the doc­u­ment says an Ir­a­ni­an com­pany suc­cess­fully ob­tained more than 65 per­cent of nearly 1,800 such com­pon­ents it is be­lieved to have re­ques­ted from 2007 to 2011.

The Ir­a­ni­an firm — called Mod­ern In­dus­tries Tech­nique Com­pany — has been tar­geted by in­ter­na­tion­al pen­al­ties since 2010 over its work on the Arak fa­cil­ity. Ir­an has tent­at­ively offered to al­ter the un­opened re­act­or site to re­duce its an­ti­cip­ated out­put of bomb-us­able plutoni­um.

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