U.S. State Department said today Iran has pursued its effort to buy banned components for its nuclear and missile programs in recent months, despite the Geneva interim agreement and the ongoing negotiations with the P5+1 to reach final comprehensive accord. (Reuters, 16 March)
Vann Van Diepen, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Non-Proliferation, said Iran was still “very actively” creating front companies and engaging in other activity to conceal procurements of banned material. The UN Security Council imposed embargo in 2006 banning the provision by any nation to Iran of materials related to its nuclear and missile development programs
“They (the Iranians) still continue very actively trying to procure items for their nuclear program and missile program,” Van Diepen told Reuters in an interview. “We continue to see them very actively setting up and operating through front companies, falsifying documentation, engaging in multiple levels of trans-shipment ... to put more apparent distance between where the item originally came from and where it is ultimately going.” (Reuters, March 16)
Asked by Reuters for reaction to the allegation, a senior Iranian official replied: “No comment.”
Meanwhile, Iran is meeting its commitments under the November Geneva agreement, suspending its 20-percent uranium enrichment work and construction activities at heavy-water Arak reactor among other things.
On 18-19 March, Iran and the P5+1 will hold their second round of negotiations on the final comprehensive agreement in Vienna.