A U.N. Security Council committee has published a report on Iranian sanctions violations, including shipments of weapons to Syria in breach of a U.N. ban on weapons exports by the Islamic Republic.
The report said that Syria remains the top destination for Iranian arms shipments.
Iran, like Russia, is one of Syria’s few allies as it presses ahead with a 16-month-old assault on opposition forces determined to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The new report, submitted by a panel of sanctions-monitoring experts to the Security Council’s Iran sanctions committee, said the group investigated three large illegal shipments of Iranian weapons over the past year.
“Iran has continued to defy the international community through illegal arms shipments,” it stated.
“Two of these cases involved (Syria), as were the majority of cases inspected by the Panel during its previous mandate, underscoring that Syria continues to be the central party to illicit Iranian arms transfers,” the report said.
The third shipment involved rockets that Britain said last year were headed for Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.
The kinds of arms that Iran was attempting to send to Syria before the shipments were seized by Turkish authorities included assault rifles, machineguns, explosives, detonators, 60mm and 120mm mortal shells and other items, the panel said.
The most recent incident described in the report was an arms shipment discovered in a truck that Turkey seized on its border with Syria in February. Turkey announced last year that it was imposing an arms embargo on Syria.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday accused the United States of supplying weapons to Syria’s rebels.
“They (the United States) are providing arms and weapons to the Syrian opposition that can be used in fighting against the Damascus government,” he said.
But it was revealed that Russia is supplying “anti-air defense systems” to Damascus in a deal that “in no way violates international laws,” Lavrov told a news conference during a brief visit to Iran.
“We are not violating any international law in performing these contracts … [it] contrasts with what the United States is doing … which is providing arms to the Syrian opposition,” he said.
Source: Reuters; Al Arabiya – Photo: AP