UN sanctions against Iranians in arms smuggling

The United Nations has added two Iranians and a company to its sanctions blacklist over their involvement in arms smuggling through Nigeria, officials said Friday.

All were linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, said which the United States said is “the group that directs Iranian support for terrorism and extremism worldwide.”

An alleged Iranian Revolutionary Guard member is on trial in Nigeria over an attempt to bring in rockets, explosives and grenades falsely declared as building materials. The arms were seized in October 2010 in Lagos port.

The individuals were named by the UN sanctions committee as Azim Aghajani and Ali Akbar Tabatabaei, both members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Qods Force.

The blacklisted company was named as Behineh Trading Co. The committee said it was “one of the two Iranian companies that played key roles in Iran’s illicit transfer of arms to West Africa.”

It said the firm had acted as “the shipper of the weapons consignment” to West Africa, acting on behalf of the IRGC Qods Force.

The individuals would be added to a list subject to a travel ban and assets freeze, the committee said in a statement.

Last month, the United States added Behineh Trading and three individuals — including Aghajani and Tabatabaei — to its national sanctions list.

Western nations say Iran is seeking a nuclear bomb. The Tehran government says the program is for peaceful purposes. The UN Security Council has imposed four rounds of sanctions calling on Iran to halt the enrichment of uranium, a key step in making a bomb.

US ambassador Susan Rice welcomed the decision.

“The individuals listed today helped plan a weapons shipment — intercepted by Nigeria in 2010 — in violation of existing UN sanctions,” she said in a statement.

“Both individuals and this company are tied to the Qods Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the group that directs Iranian support for terrorism and extremism worldwide.”

The envoy called on the sanctions committee and its experts “to take additional steps to strengthen implementation of these sanctions.”


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