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U.N Expands Sanctions On Iran For Arms Smuggling

Azim Aghajani, an Iranian citizen charged with orchestrating an illegal arms shipment into Nigeria, sits in the witness box at the Federal High Court in Lagos, Nigeria Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

The U.N. Security Council has imposed legally binding sanctions on Iran, including a conventional arms ban.

The U.N. Security Council has imposed legally binding sanctions on Iran, including a conventional arms ban. The Iranian government has repeatedly defied these prohibitions, as it has other measures imposed by the Security Council.

The U.N. Security Council’s 1737 Committee monitors implementation of UN sanctions, examines and takes appropriate action on information regarding sanctions violations, and has the authority to designate additional individuals and entities to an asset freeze and/or a travel ban. The 1737 Committee recently designated two individuals and one entity involved in the smuggling of a shipment of Iranian arms seized by the Nigerian government fall of 2010. The shipment included rocket launchers, grenades, and other explosives hidden in containers marked “building materials.”

The 1737 Committee imposed the travel ban and asset freeze on two Iranians –- Azim Aghajani and Ali Akbar Tabatabaei, both members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Qods Force, and an asset freeze on the Behineh Trading Company, which the Committee said “acted on behalf of the IRGC Qods Force as the shipper of the weapons consignment.”

Susan Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, welcomed the measures, noting that both the designated individuals and Behineh Trading Company are tied to the Qods Force, which she described as “the group that directs Iranian support for terrorism and extremism worldwide.”

Ms. Rice said the designations “reflect the Security Council’s unified commitment to using and enforcing the sanctions adopted by the Council, in conjunction with a constructive process of engagement, to compel Iran to meet its international obligations.”

State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland noted that as a result of the designations by the 1737 Committee, the assets of the entity and individuals will be frozen, and the individuals will also be subject to a travel ban. “These designations,” she said in a statement, “demonstrate the unity of the international community and a clear resolve to hold Iran accountable for its actions and prevent entities and individuals from assisting Iran in evading U.N. sanctions.”