UN official: Arms that Iran shipped to Nigeria violate UN resolution
Azerbaijan, Baku, March 3 / Trend T. Konyayeva /
Following the investigation over the case of an Iranian cargo seized in Nigeria, the Panel of Experts (POE) of the UN Security Council's Iran sanctions committee came to the conclusion that the cargo is a violation of the UN Security Council resolution, Coordinator of the POE Salome Zourabichvili said.
"The Panel has conducted a full inspection and has concluded after its investigation of the case that the reported shipment involving 13 containers of ammunition was in violation of Resolution 1929 since it had without any doubt originated from Iran, Bander Abbas port," Zourabichvili said in an interview with Trend.
In January, the POE visited Nigeria to assess whether a shipment of arms seized in the port of Lagos in 2010 is a violation of the UN sanctions on Tehran.
In October 2010, the Nigerian intelligence agency confiscated weapons at the port of Lagos. The containers were shipped unloaded at the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. Dispatcher later sought to have the containers were re-loaded and shipped to the Gambia.
Nigeria reported about the fact to the UN Security Council as Iran is under the four resolutions of the UN sanctions because of its refusal to halt nuclear development. The sanctions include a ban on arms sales.
In November 2010, the Nigerian Court has indicted an Iranian citizen Azim Adhajani, who was reflected in the court documents as a businessman and member of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and three Nigerians for the illegal transportation of weapons, including rockets and mortars.
Iran stated that the weapons were sent by the private company.
Nigerian Foreign Minister Odein Ajumogobia said it is possible that a diplomat was involved in it, but authorities could not question him because of diplomatic immunity, which the Iranian side refused to cancel.
Zourabichvili said the objectives of the Iranian authorities in this case could be many, among which increase of its influence in West Africa and destabilization strategy, trade and financial interest, support to terrorist movements.
However, she said, the Panel at this stage has not come to final conclusions in this regard and keeps the case under examination.
Zourabichvili also noted that the Panel is going to investigate in the coming weeks other reported violations from Malta, Italy and Israel and visit some of Iran's neighboring countries in the region: Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Saudi Arabia and EAU.
"The Panel will produce its final report in June 2011, on the basis of which the UNSC will have to take a decision on the recondition of the Mandate of the POE," she said.