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Iran''s recent sanctions violations "only tip of the iceberg" - France

UNITED NATIONS, Dec 10 (KUNA) -- France on Friday said the Iranian smuggled weapons, recently intercepted in European and African ports, are just the "tip of the iceberg" in Tehran's policy of violating Security Council sanctions imposed in connection with its nuclear file.
"Serious violations have accumulated - We have two new cases of arms' violations - There is a considerable flow of arms and other dangerous materials which once again has come to light... And there are other worrying routes that have been identified in Africa too. This is only the tip of the iceberg," French Deputy Ambassador to the UN Martin Briens told the Security Council.
Briens was referring to the two cases of smuggled Iranian weapons, which were intercepted by Italy and Nigeria.
These governments' notification to the Council, he explained, "provided evidence that Iran has continued to flout its international obligations, international and regional peace and security." He also noted that sanctions "do have an impact as Iran has to make use of increasingly complex and complicated routes and schemes." He expressed hope that the panel of experts recently appointed by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, would investigate in detail these violations, study the "evasion" techniques Iran has been using and provide recommendations to the Council's Sanctions Committee on Iran, known as the 1737 Committee.
Under Council resolution 1737 of December 2006, Iran is banned from importing or exporting any arms and related material.
Acting in accordance with Council resolution 1929 of last June, Ban appointed last month eight experts, representing the Council's permanent members - US, UK, France, Russia and China - plus Germany, Japan and Nigeria, to investigate the violations and report to the Committee.
The Council met on Friday to be briefed by the Committee Chairman Tsuneo Nishida of Japan on the work of his panel during the last three months. He briefed the Council on the two cases of smuggling, but did not mention any country by name.
He also said the panel of experts will begin its investigation of those two cases soon.
US Ambassador Susan Rice told the Council that during the last six months, "Iran's noncompliance with its obligations to the Security Council and under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty has persisted. So has its lack of full cooperation with the IAEA".
"We must continue to maintain the pressure on Iran to change course. All member states have an obligation to fully implement Security Council obligations," she added.
She commended Nigeria for seizing Iranian arms exported in violation of UN sanctions, and Italy for seizing items that Syria was attempting to procure illicitly from Iran.
"Investigations into these incidents can help us better understand and to halt Iran's arms smuggling and proliferation networks in violation of this Council's resolutions," she indicated.
"Iran's choice remains clear if it builds international confidence and respects its obligations, we will reciprocate. But if Iran refuses, its isolation will only grow. We will base our actions on Iran's degree of cooperation," she warned, stressing that the international community's aim is solely to "prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons".
The Council imposed additional sanctions on Iran in resolution 1929 last June 9th, expanding an arms embargo and tightening restrictions on financial and shipping enterprises related to proliferation-sensitive activities. (end) sj.hb KUNA 102148 Dec 10NNNN