Iran imports £350 m. in weapons in 3 years

Besides Iran, 10 countries under international arms sanctions succeeded in buying £1.4 b. in weapons from 2000-2010,

May 3, 2012 11:25
1 minute read.
Iranian-flagged freight ship

Iranian-flagged freight ship 390. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Iran imported weapons worth over £350 million in the space of three years despite being the target of a United Nations arms embargo, the British newspaper The Telegraph reported that Oxfam will disclose on Thursday.

Besides Iran, 10 countries under international arms sanctions succeeded in purchasing weapons worth over £1.4 billion during the years 2000-2010, according to the report.

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The success of the embargoed states in acquiring arms exemplifies how ineffective the  current regime is at preventing proliferation, said Anna MacDonald, the Control Arms campaigns manager for Oxfam. She added: "If you are an unscrupulous government, it's quite easy to find your way around them," the report said.

Since 2007, the UN Security Council has pressed all of its members to "exercise vigilance and restraint" in supplying arms to Iran. But the report states that data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) shows that Tehran acquired weaponry worth £350 million by 2010.

A January 2012 SIPRI report had previously exposed Iran's renaming of over a dozen cargo ships in the past year in seeking to circumvent sanctions on arms transfers and the supply of nuclear-related equipment.

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The SIPRI report had included an analysis of incidents of illicit arms and drug transfers in recent years.

According to the SIPRI report, the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line (IRISL) has renamed a total of 90 out of its 123 ships since 2008. The company also reflagged a significant percentage of its fleet, which dropped off the list of the top 100 fleets in the world last April. It previously was ranked as the 23rd largest container line in the world.

Russia and China, who have thwarted any attempts at the UN to impose a comprehensive sanctions regime on Iran, are understood to have been Iran's main suppliers.

Yaakov Katz contributed to this story.

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