VIENNA - A confidential new report by a UN panel highlights Iran's methods of evading sanctions - from concealing titanium tubes inside steel pipes to using its petrochemical industry as a cover to obtain items for a heavy-water nuclear reactor.
The latest report by the UN Panel of Experts, which monitors compliance with the Security Council's sanctions regime on Iran, said Tehran's attempts to illicitly procure materials for its disputed nuclear and missile programs may have slowed down as it pursues talks on a long-term deal with world powers.
But the experts' report, which reached the Security Council's Iran sanctions committee days ahead of a new round of Vienna talks between Iran and six world powers, said an alternative explanation could be that Tehran had merely learned how to outsmart security and intelligence services in acquiring sensitive components and materials.
One example was a set of titanium tubes concealed inside a shipment of stainless steel pipes manufactured in and shipped from China. The pipes were ordered by Ocean Lotka International Shipping and Forwarding Co. on Valiasr St. in Tehran.
The report, seen by Reuters, includes a photo of 10 titanium tubes snugly fitted inside steel piping. The report provides no details of the potential nuclear applications of the titanium tubes, noting only that "the Panel's investigation into this reported incident is ongoing".