Iran nuclear program: US, EU step up sanctions pressure
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, speaking in Iraq, said additional sanctions could be imposed for Iran nuclear program if Iran does not fulfill October agreements.
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A United Nations sanctions committee on Thursday expressed concern that Iran was exporting weapons, citing reports of two illegal shipments by a state-backed Iranian shipping line seized in the last three months. The Washington Post said the US and Israel believed the seized weapons were bound for Syria.Skip to next paragraph
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"Iran has now been caught breaking the rules," said Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. "Such violations are unacceptable."
Rice added: "The illicit smuggling of weapons from Iran to Syria is not just a sanctions violation. It is also an important factor in the destabilization of an already fragile Middle East."
Recent intelligence reports have revealed that officials from Iran's Ministry of Defence have held a series of meeting with companies based in Taiwan to buy hundreds of pressure transducers, which can be used to produce weapons-grade uranium.
Iran has been desperately trying to acquire the equipment for more than a year, but has been frustrated by the refusal of European and American companies to sell it material that might be used for its nuclear program.
Iran continues to insist that it has a right to a nuclear energy program, and denies it plans to build weapons. On Wednesday, one Iranian politician warned that Tehran could "limit" cooperation with the UN's nuclear watchdog agency if the UN Security Council issued any new resolution against Iran, the Tehran Times reported.