UNITED NATIONS - Turkey has informed a UN Security Council panel that it seized a cache of weapons Iran was attempting to export in breach of a UN arms embargo, according to a document obtained by Reuters on Thursday.
Security Council diplomats said the report of the seizure from an Iranian cargo plane reflected positively on Turkey, which some US and European officials say has taken a lax approach to implementing international sanctions against Iranian financial institutions.
The report to the council's Iran sanctions committee, which oversees compliance with the four rounds of punitive steps the 15-nation body has imposed on Iran over its nuclear program, said a March 21 inspection turned up the weapons, which were listed as "auto spare parts" on the plane's documents.
The plane was bound for Aleppo, Syria, and was given permission to pass through Turkish airspace provided it made a "technical stop" at Diyarbakir airport, the report said.
It said a search of the Iranian "YasAir Cargo Airlines" Ilyushin-76 revealed a number of "prohibited military items" -- 60 Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifles, 14 BKC/Bixi machine guns, nearly 8,000 rounds of BKC/AK-47 ammunition, 560 60-mm mortar shells, and 1,288 120-mm mortar shells.