Yemen has siezed Iran-linked arms shipment which put Iran under international scrutiny.
Reports say vesssel named Jihan II was carrying rockets and explosives which authorities in Sanaa say came from Iran.
Investigation is underway as Yemeni authority is gathering information from the vessel’s crew.
Earlier this week, the Yemeni authority reportedly demanded an explanation from Tehran over the Iranian-supplied weapons cache intercepted by Yemeni coast guard in coordination with the US navy on January 23 in the Arabian Sea.
Speculations started to stir that the arms shipment were headed for the Huthi rebels in Saada, the stronghold of Shiite fighters in northern Yemen.
In Washington DC today, State Department spokeswoman Victoria says United States commends the Government of Yemen for its successful and significant interdiction of a vessel attempting to smuggle a large cache of Iranian-supplied weapons, explosives, and other munitions into Yemen.
She cites that at a press conference in Sana’a earlier today, Yemeni Government officials noted that their investigation thus far shows that the weapons were loaded onto the vessel in Iran and were intended for armed insurgents operating in Yemen.
“Yemen’s decision to bring this incident to the attention of the United Nations Security Council underscores its vigilance in countering threats to its sovereignty, its ongoing political transition, and the region’s stability.” – Ms. Nuland
According to Yemeni Government officials, their initial investigation has revealed that the vessel was carrying a large shipment of explosives, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, IED precursors, and most disturbingly, man-portable anti-aircraft missiles, Ms. Nuland reported.
She says the weapons are clearly designed to cause significant damage with the highest possible number of casualties and are a threat to both Yemen and the region.
Ms. Nuland states that paragraph 5 of UNSCR 1747 expressly prohibits Iran from exporting arms and related material, and, in light of this evidence, the United States encourages the UN Sanctions Committee to respond immediately to the Yemeni Government’s request to send a Panel of Experts to examine the seized weapons and bring its findings to the Security Council.
“The origin of the vessel and weapons underscores Iran’s ongoing evasion of six relevant UN Security Council resolutions.” – Ms. Nuland
Ms. Nuland says Iran continues to defy the international community through its proliferation activities and support for destabilizing action in the region.
She urges the international community to continue to speak with one voice and work to ensure that Iran adheres to all of its international obligations.
US Determined to stop Iran’s proliferation activities
With speculations continue to make headlines that Iran is not disclosing enough information on its nuclear program, the United States of America has underlined that it is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and has pursued a dual-track policy to do so.
In her statement on Iran at Washington DC, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reported that just recently the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Board of Governors overwhelmingly adopted a resolution that clearly reflects the international community’s concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear program.
The US reiterated that Iran must cooperate fully and immediately with the IAEA on all outstanding issues.
The US government welcomes the resolve of the international community to make clear the onus is on Iran to abide by its international obligations, honor its commitments to the IAEA, and prove that its intentions are peaceful.
Iran under international scrutiny
Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and the United Kingdom have qualified for an exception to sanctions outlined in Section 1245 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, as amended (NDAA), based on reductions in the volume of their crude oil purchases from Iran.
As of July 1, the European Union implemented a full ban on Iranian crude oil and petroleum products, strengthening the comprehensive measures it has taken to hold Iran accountable for its failure to comply with its international nuclear obligations.
Japan has also taken significant steps to reduce its crude oil purchases, which is especially notable considering the extraordinary energy challenges it has faced in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, she noted.
In addition, the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog has said Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation to enable the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities, and not driven by military ambitions.
IAEA General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Yukiya Amano also renewed his call on Iran to grant inspectors access to the Parchin nuclear facility site.
At a meeting of the IAEA’s Board of Governors in Vienna, Mr. Amano highlighted that despite intensified dialogue between the IAEA and Iran since the beginning of the year, no concrete results have been achieved so far.
Iran’s nuclear programme has been making headline which its officials have stated is for peaceful purposes, but some other countries contend is driven by military ambitions.
Reports say Iran’s nuclear programme has become a matter of international concern since the discovery in 2003 that the country had concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Iran has repeatedly stated that its nuclear programme is for the peaceful purpose of providing energy, but many countries believe it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons.
In March 2012, the head of the Security Council committee monitoring the arms embargo imposed on Iran over its nuclear programme reported new cases of reported violations by Iran.
Ambassador Nestor Osorio of Colombia noted in his quarterly report that four Member States submitted a report regarding a violation of the resolution prohibiting Iran from carrying out activities related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
A Member State had also provided information on the results of inspections carried out on material confiscated in February last year from a truck on Iran’s border with Syria.
Another Member State had brought to the committee’s attention a public statement by the Secretary-General of Hizbollah, dated 7 February, in which he acknowledged that his group had received “materialistic support in all possible and available forms from Iran,” he further said.
Iran’s nuclear programme has been under scrunitization of the international community. The country’s offcials have stated it is for peaceful purposes, but some other countries contend is driven by military ambitions.
In December 2002, satellite photographs shown on U.S. television confirm the existence of sites at Natanz and Arak. The United States accuses Tehran of “across-the-board pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.” Iran agrees to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
In February 2003, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami reveals that Iran has unearthed uranium deposits and announces plans to develop a nuclear fuel cycle.
Reports say Iran try had concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
On 23rd December 2006, the 15-member UN Security Council unanimously adopts a binding resolution that calls on Iran to suspend its uranium-enrichment activities and to comply with its IAEA obligations. Resolution 1737 directs all states to prevent the supply or sale to Iran of any materials that could assist its nuclear or ballistic missile programmes. It also imposes an asset freeze on key companies and individuals named by the UN as contributors to Iran’s nuclear and missile programmes.
Resolution 1737 was strengthened by resolution 1747 the following year which imposed a ban on arms sales to or from Iran, and expanded an existing freeze on assets.
Resolution 1747 of the following year tightened the sanctions by imposing a ban on arms sales and expanding the freeze on assets.
The IAEA is increasingly concerned about the possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed nuclear-related activities involving military-related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile, about which the Agencycontinues to receive new information.
Iran has produced over 4,500 kilograms of low-enriched uranium, which, according to the Institute for Science and International Security, is almost enough for four nuclear weapons after further enrichment to weapon grade.