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On June 2nd, a United Nations panel of experts released a damning report on Iranian violations of the UNSC sanctions imposed against the regime of Ayatollah Khamenei.
The report was finally published on Tuesday.
Bloomberg reported that the UN experts said that “governments reported no new incidents of Iran violating Security Council sanctions against its nuclear program, even though some have unfolded in plain sight.”
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“The current situation with reporting could reflect a general reduction of procurement activities by the Iranian side or a political decision by some member states to refrain from reporting to avoid a possible negative impact on ongoing negotiations,” the experts wrote in the report.
The UN experts suggested that some countries, including the United States, may have deliberately ignored sanctions violations by Iran.
These countries knew, for example, that General Qassem Suleimani, commander of the elite Quds force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, repeatedly violated a UN-mandated travel ban when he traveled to Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq. Suleimani’s illegal activities in Syria and Iraq were also reported by Western Journalism most recently on June 2nd, when Suleimani was in western Syria to oversee the war effort by Assad’s army and Shiite and Iranian forces.
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Bloomberg interviewed Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who has advised Congress on expanding sanctions. He said the following about the behavior of the U.S. government and its allies:
This is a clear political decision not to publicize these examples of sanctions evasion in order to ensure that public reporting on this doesn’t in any way jeopardize the talks or harden congressional resolve. The Obama administration has bent over backwards to try and whitewash Iranian violations both on the nuclear side and also on the sanction-busting side.
The UN experts gave two examples of Iranian violations of the UN sanctions regime when the Obama administration was negotiating with Iran about a framework agreement.
Here’s the first example:
An Iranian procurer approached a company in January 2015 to supply Howden CKD compressors. The stated end user was suspected to be a false end user for the goods, which were in fact to be exported to Iran. The procurer and transport company involved in the deal had provided false documentation in order to hide the origins, movement and destination of the consignment with the intention of bypassing export controls and sanctions, specifically United Nations Security Council resolution 1737 (2006).
And here’s the second example:
The Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland informed the Panel on 20 April 2015 that it is aware of an active Iranian nuclear procurement network which has been associated with Iran’s Centrifuge Technology Company (TESA) and Kalay Electric Company (KEC). The Panel notes that KEC is designated under Security Council resolution 1737 (2006).
The report also revealed that two governments informed the UN that Iran made illegal financial transactions through banks outside Iran that were related to nuclear procurement.
The publication of the UN report comes a week after the Washington Free Beacon published a summary of a Pentagon report about the Iranian development of missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads during the negotiations with the six world powers.
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“The report was due to Congress in January but was not sent to the Armed Services Committee as required by law until this month. Analysts said the delay appeared designed to avoid upsetting Tehran and the nuclear talks,” the Free Beacon reported.
Earlier, the Free Beacon had reported that “North Korea supplied several shipments of missile components to Iran during recent nuclear talks and the transfers appear to violate United Nations sanctions on both countries, according to U.S. intelligence officials.”
“Since September more than two shipments of missile parts have been monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies as they transited from North Korea to Iran, said officials familiar with intelligence reports who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“Details of the arms shipments were included in President Obama’s daily intelligence briefings and officials suggested information about the transfers was kept secret from the United Nations, which is in charge of monitoring sanctions violations,” according to the Free Beacon.
CIA director John Brennan made proper analysis of Iran’s behavior during the current negotiations virtually impossible when he told Harvard’s Institute for Politics in early April that “anyone who both knew the facts surrounding the Obama administration’s framework agreement regarding the Iranian nuclear program, and said that it provides a pathway for Iran to a bomb, was being wholly disingenuous.”
Suppressing the truth regarding Iran’s behavior was also visible in the latest Worldwide Threat Assessment, an annual report that the director of national intelligence presents to Congress; it was released in February.
“Beginning last year, the assessment’s focus shifted away from Tehran’s efforts to expand its regional hegemony and toward describing Iran as a protector of oppressed Shiites that seeks to reduce sectarian violence,“ wrote the Washington Institute.
The Worldwide Threat Assessment showed “a marked shift in tone regarding Iran and its proxies. While past editions portrayed Tehran as a malign influence and state sponsor of terrorism that was actively seeking to undermine the United States and its allies, the most recent assessments cast a different light,” according to the Washington Institute.
Israel Project director Omri Ceren responded to the latest revelations about Iran’s deceit and the ignorance of the U.S. and its allies.
He wrote the following to Western Journalism in an e-mail:
The obvious point from the skeptics’ camp will be that if the West is willing to look the other way on Iranian activity while they’re trying to seal a deal, they’ll be even more inclined to ignore Tehran’s destabilizing and sanctions-busting activities after a deal, when everyone’s credibility is on the line.
Judging by the reports that have already been withheld, looking the other way means tolerating Iran’s march across the Middle East and any nuclear-related work it’s doing that’s not covered by the final deal.
Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu didn’t directly respond to the UN report, but he addressed the Iranian nuclear threat during a speech to the annual Herzliyah conference on Tuesday.
Here’s what he said:
I know I’m often portrayed as the nuclear party pooper. And that would be okay if I was the only voice against the impending deal with Iran. But I speak with quite a few of our (Arab) neighbors, more than you think, and I want to tell you that nobody in this region believes this deal will block Iran’s path to the bomb or, as I said, to many bombs. And it’s worth noting that no one from this region, except Iran, is at the negotiating table.
Somebody once said: “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.” The states with the most at stake are not even in the room.
To those who say this deal will change Iran, I say – You’ve got it backwards. First, Iran should change. Then make the deal. Only then should you reward it with technology and money.
So, with the greatest respect, I say to our American friends – and we have no better friends and America has no better friends than Israel – I say, if Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act like a normal country.”
Meanwhile, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey appeared to criticize the willingness of the Obama administration to relieve sanctions on Iran. During a visit to Israel, Dempsey showed understanding for the Israeli position that a nuclear deal will increase Iran’s funding of terrorist groups like Hezbollah and will put more resources in its own military.
“I share their concern, If the deal is reached and results in sanctions relief, which results in more economic power and more purchasing power for the Iranian regime, it’s my expectation that it’s not all going to flow into the economy to improve the lot of the average Iranian citizen.” Dempsey said.
Dempsey’s comments were made before AP journalists Matthew Lee and Bradley Klapper revealed that “the Obama administration may have to backtrack on its promise that it will suspend only nuclear-related economic sanctions on Iran as part of an emerging nuclear agreement.”
The AP story reveals that sanctions that were imposed on Iran to block illicit finance and ballistic missile development will be rolled back too. 23 out of 24 currently sanctioned Iranian banks will be delisted, including the crucial Central Bank of Iran.
The White House fact-sheet describing the joint plan of action that was released after the framework agreement between Iran and the six world powers in Lausanne stated that “U.S. sanctions on Iran for terrorism, human rights abuses, and ballistic missiles will remain in place under the deal.”