News / Middle East

UN Panel Concerned About Iran's Alleged Smuggling

Western nations at a U.N. Security Council briefing on Iran have voiced concern about Tehran's alleged arms smuggling.

U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice on Friday urged the panel to "investigate thoroughly" Iran's possible U.N. sanctions violations involving smuggling.  

She cited a September incident in which Italian authorities seized up to seven tons of explosives in a container believed to be from Iran.  She also cited an October incident in Nigeria that resulted in an Iranian national being charged with attempting to import banned firearms.

Rice said probes into the incidents could help the council stop Iran's "smuggling and proliferation networks."

The French News Agency (AFP) quotes France's representative Martin Briens as saying the seizures show Iran is using "increasingly complex and complicated routes" to try to work around U.N. sanctions.

The U.N. has imposed four rounds of sanctions on Tehran because of its controversial nuclear program. Western nations suspect Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran says its program is peaceful.

Earlier this week, chief Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili met in Geneva with the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany, a group known as the P5 + 1.  The talks were aimed at finding a way to break a deadlock over Tehran's nuclear program.

After the meeting, Jalili said Tehran would never give up its nuclear rights.

Participants agreed to meet again next month in Turkey.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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