UAE Seizes North Korean Weapons Shipment to Iran (Update2)
By Bill Varner
Aug. 28 (Bloomberg) -- The United Arab Emirates has seized a ship carrying North Korean-manufactured munitions, detonators, explosives and rocket-propelled grenades bound for Iran in violation of United Nations sanctions, diplomats said.
The UAE two weeks ago notified the UN Security Council of the seizure, according to the diplomats, who spoke on condition they aren’t named because the communication hasn’t been made public. They said the ship, owned by an Australian subsidiary of a French company and sailing under a Bahamian flag, was carrying 10 containers of arms disguised as oil equipment.
The council committee that monitors enforcement of UN sanctions against North Korea wrote letters to Iran and the government in Pyongyang asking for explanations of the violation, and one to the UAE expressing appreciation for the cooperation, the envoys said. No response has been received and the UAE has unloaded the cargo, they said.
The UAE and Iranian missions to the UN didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. The Financial Times reported the weapons seizure earlier today.
The Security Council voted on June 12 to adopt a resolution that punishes North Korea for its recent nuclear-bomb test and missile launches through cargo inspections and enforcement of restrictions on financial transactions. The measure calls for the interdiction at seaports, airports or in international waters of any cargo suspected of containing arms or nuclear or missile-related materials going to or from North Korea.
Iran is under three sets of UN sanctions for its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, a process to isolate a uranium isotope needed to generate fuel for a nuclear power reactor or, in higher concentrations, to make a weapon.
Iran denies allegations by the U.S. and some of its major allies that it seeks an atomic weapon or the means to build one, insisting the nuclear work is intended to generate electricity.
U.S. President Barack Obama has said the Iranian government must respond by late September to his request for new talks on curbing its nuclear program. Iran last month said work is under way on proposals that may provide the basis for renewed talks.
To contact the reporter on this story: Bill Varner at the United Nations at firstname.lastname@example.org