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Old 03-14-2009, 02:28 PM
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Exo1 Exo1 is offline
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Default Syria-bound Iran arms violated sanctions: UN panel

(AFP) A UN Security Council panel has concluded that a shipment of Syria-bound Iranian arms intercepted by Cypriot authorities last January was in clear violation of UN arms sanctions on Tehran.

Japan's UN ambassador Yukio Takasu, chairman of the council committee monitoring UN sanctions slapped on Iran for refusing to halt sensitive nuclear fuel work, briefed the 15-member council on his conclusions Tuesday.

Last month, Iran denied that the M/V Monchegorsk, a ship being detained by Cypriot authorities reportedly on requests by United States and Israel, was carrying weapons to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

But US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said Tuesday that the UN sanctions committee established that the shipment of Iranian arms "violated Security Council Resolution 1747."

That resolution adopted in 2007 requires that "Iran shall not supply, sell or transfer from its territory any arms and related materiel, and that all States shall prohibit the procurement of such items from Iran."

"The United States supports the steps that the (sanctions) Committee has already taken to address this violation, and we hope that the Committee will take appropriate action under its mandate," Rice noted. "I don't think this is the place to foreshadow what that action might be."

A Western diplomat noted that the committee itself has no powers to slap additional sanctions, which can only be imposed by a Security Council resolution.

Britain's UN Ambassador John Sawers meanwhile expressed gratitude to Cyprus for its vigilance and cooperation "in acting to prevent the transfer and procurement of arms and related material from Iran" on the Monchegorsk.

"The United Kingdom looks forward to the Committee receiving explanations from Iran and Syria as to why the shipment was permitted by Iran as the reported State of origin, and as to the involvement of Syria as the reported State of destination," he added.

Israeli media had reported that the Monchegorsk was suspected of carrying Iranian arms for Gaza and was detained by the Cypriot authorities in response to requests from United States and Israel.

Israel has long accused Iran of arming the Islamists in Gaza, a claim Tehran denies even though it says it offers moral support to Hamas.
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