Exclusive: Britain told U.N. monitors of active Iran nuclear procurement – panel
BY LOUIS CHARBONNEAU
(Reuters) – Britain has informed a United Nations sanctions panel of an active Iranian nuclear procurement network linked to two blacklisted firms, according to a confidential report by the panel seen by Reuters.
The existence of such a network could add to Western concerns over whether Tehran can be trusted to adhere to a nuclear deal due by June 30 in which it would agree to restrict sensitive nuclear work in exchange for sanctions relief.
Talks between six major powers and Tehran are approaching the final stages after they hammered out a preliminary agreement on April 2, with Iran committing to reduce the number of centrifuges it operates and other long-term nuclear limitations.
“The UK government 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 of Experts said in its annual report. The panel monitors Iran’s compliance with the U.N. sanctions regime.
KEC is under U.N. Security Council sanctions while TESA is under U.S. and European Union sanctions due to their suspected links to banned Iranian nuclear activities.
Iran, which is has been under sanctions for years, has a long history of illicit nuclear procurement using front companies and other methods of skirting sanctions.
That has enabled it to develop a substantial atomic program in spite of aggressive international efforts to curtail it, U.N. diplomats say. But analysts and Western intelligence officials say sanctions have slowed the development of Tehran’s nuclear program.
The United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency have repeatedly said that Tehran has so far complied with the terms of a limited agreement struck in November 2013 between Iran and the six powers involving some reductions in its nuclear activities, including enrichment.
The panel’s document did not contain further details on the British report.
Nuclear enrichment centrifuges are used to purify uranium for use as fuel for power plants or, if purified to a very high level, in weapons.
Tehran denies allegations from Western powers and their allies that it is amassing the capability to produce nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian atomic energy program.
The panel said that the British information about the Iranian procurement network was received too recently for it to conduct an independent investigation of the allegations.
U.N. sanctions in place since 2006 bar Tehran from pursuing sensitive nuclear activities, including uranium enrichment, as well as ballistic missile work. There are also U.S. and EU sanctions on Iran, which have crippled its economy.
Officials at the U.N. missions of Britain and Iran were not immediately available for comment.
The panel said it had received no new reports from U.N. member states of confirmed cases of non-compliance involving Iranian nuclear procurement. However, it cautioned that the lack of such reports could be due to multiple reasons.
“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 any possible negative impact on ongoing negotiations between … Iran and (major powers),” it said.
Despite the lack of newly confirmed violations the panel said that “some member states informed the panel that according to their assessment, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s procurement trends and (sanctions) circumvention techniques remain basically unchanged.”
It cited an example of an unnamed member state saying that an Iranian entity had recently attempted to acquire compressors, a key component in the uranium enrichment process, using false end-user certificates in an attempt to evade controls.
The panel also said that a U.N.-sanctioned subsidiary of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), the Irano Hind Shipping Company (IHSC), has remained active without its assets being frozen as required under U.N. sanctions rules.
The report said IHSC continues to operate two oil tankers, Amin 2 and Tour 2, which have been transporting crude oil to Syria, as recently as after September 2014.
The government of Syria, which has been waging a war for four years against insurgents determined to topple it, is a staunch ally of Iran.
The initial “staging” contract was $39,935 with a followup change order for $3,675
When President Obama visited Jamaica in early April, he held a town hall meeting with “Young Leaders of the Americas” at University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica. The president made remarks and took questions for only about 75 minutes in the Assembly Hall building on the Mona campus of the university, but the State Department issued four contracts totaling almost $50,000 for “staging” and the installation of generators and air conditioners.
The initial “staging” contract was $39,935 with a followup change order for $3,675. The exact nature of the work is not spelled out, and the contractor is simply listed as “Miscellaneous Foreign Awardees.” Photos of the event appear to show a low stage with several rows of seating on risers for selected representatives of the Young Leaders of the Americas and a row of flags from the nations represented at the meeting. Behind the stage, a high white wall was emblazoned with an official seal and draped with red, blue and gold bunting.
There were also two contracts for the generators and air conditioners, one for $4,060 and another for $1,264. Temperatures in Kingston were in the 80s on the day of the president’s visit. It is unclear if the building, Assembly Hall, is usually air conditioned. The university’s website says the hall is the “main ceremonial venue” for the school, and is offered for rent on weekdays to outside groups for $50,000 and on weekends for $70,000. The website cooltechnologies.org says that the Mona campus underwent a “conversion of nearly 4,000 window, mini-split and central air conditioning units” to more efficient “hydrocarbon units” for “significant cost benefits”, but does not specifically mention the Assembly Hall building.
Just two days before his appearance in Jamaica, President Obama conducted a roundtable at the White House on the health effects of climate change and noted that certain health conditions are exacerbated by hotter temperatures, and this is a problem “particularly among the poor and minority populations who don’t always have easy access to air conditioning.”
There’s no indication if the air conditioning installed for the town hall at the university was a temporary or permanent addition to the building at the university. The university did not respond to a request for further information.
Mark Levin exposes eight Senate Republicans who voted with Democrats, killing an amendment that would have required certification that Iran has not directly supported or carried out an act of terrorism against the United States before sanctions against Iran can be lifted. Levin says this is a very low bar that all Republicans should have been able to vote for, yet these eight Republicans voted with Obama on this one to kill it.
Below are the names of the eight Republicans:
“Let them loot…it’s only property.” These were the words uttered by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to her police department on Monday.
As a result, she is directly responsible for allowing all the looting and property destruction that occurred that night — and there was plenty of it.
“It’s only property.” These very words are disgusting.
What was destroyed wasn’t just property — it was people’s homes, businesses, their entire lives, gone.
That short sentence goes to show how completely out of touch with reality this liberal Democrat is. She should be brought up on charges and, at the very least, forced to pay for all the damage that occurred under her watch.
Instead of trying to set an example for the nation and showing how to handle protesters, she chose to let them run amok, causing millions of dollars in damage and putting many people out of work.
Watch the Fox News report on the mayor’s comments here, courtesy of Gateway Pundit:
We need to spread this everywhere. This mayor’s actions are criminal and she must be held accountable. She is single-handedly responsible for one of the worst nights of rioting in recent memory.