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Iran Seen Sending Weapons in Breach of U.N. Penalties

A Free Syrian Army fighter fires on government positions on Wednesday in the city of Aleppo. Iran has supplied arms to the Syrian regime in violation of international sanctions targeting Tehran’s nuclear program, the United States and other Western powers asserted on Thursday (AP Photo/Manu Brabo). A Free Syrian Army fighter fires on government positions on Wednesday in the city of Aleppo. Iran has supplied arms to the Syrian regime in violation of international sanctions targeting Tehran’s nuclear program, the United States and other Western powers asserted on Thursday (AP Photo/Manu Brabo).

Iran has transferred weapons to Syria in breach of international penalties targeting disputed atomic efforts undertaken by Tehran, Washington and three other Western capitals charged on Thursday.

The Security Council to date has adopted four sanctions resolutions aimed at pressuring Iran to halt nuclear activities that could support weapons development; Tehran has insisted its atomic ambitions are strictly peaceful. The penalties include a prohibition on armament sales by the Persian Gulf regional power.

Syria is now the "central party to illicit Iranian arms transfers," the Associated Press quoted U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice as saying during a Thursday meeting on the enforcement of U.N. penalties against Iran. She spoke in reference to a conclusion by the U.N. Security Council committee charged with overseeing implementation of the sanctions.

Envoys from Berlin, London and Paris echoed Rice's statement of concern on the matter.

Members of the United Nations cannot be indifferent to Iran's "latest leaps forward in its prohibited nuclear activities," the U.S. ambassador indicated earlier. "We must recognize that we are facing a situation that continues to worsen."

High-ranking Iranian diplomats have met with counterparts from China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States on three occasions this year in a bid to allay global fears over Tehran's possible pursuit of a bomb capability.

Rice said the six nations "will not engage in an endless process of negotiations that fail to produce any results," Agence France-Presse reported.

"We must therefore remain clear and united in seeking resolution of the international community's concerns regarding Iran's nuclear program," she stated.

"Time is wasting," said Washington's envoy, adding that "Iran's approach remains to deny, to deceive and distract."

British Ambassador Lyall Grant said "the Iranian regime is at a crossroads."

"It can continue to ignore the international community's concerns over its nuclear program, or it can negotiate a settlement that will help to realize the benefits of a civil nuclear program," he said.

The U.N. panel on Thursday indicated it had since June looked into several earlier allegations of sanctions breaches by Tehran, the United Nations announced.

One U.N. member nation responded to a panel call for further details on an arms delivery declared earlier to have been intercepted on the ship MS Finland, said Colombian Ambassador to the United Nations Néstor Osorio, who heads the committee. He added the board is seeking comprehensive support from U.N. member nations in investigating the March 2011 confiscation of weapons and linked goods from the M/V Victoria.

The Obama administration on Thursday credited the U.N. panel with accelerating its activities in the past 24 months. A May assessment by the group thoroughly details Iranian efforts to circumvent global penalties and identifies 11 possible means of refining enforcement, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations added in a statement.

Iranian religious official Hojjatoleslam Kazem Seddiqi said his nation "will not (be forced into) retreat with these sanctions and resolutions and will continue on this path until the end,” Iran's Press TV reported on Friday.

Meanwhile, Iranian aerial interceptor equipment unveiled for the first time on Friday is superior to a firing unit from Russia, according to Iranian state media.

Iran showed off the Raad anti-air gear at an armed forces event in Tehran, AP reported.

"The system has been built in a bid to confront U.S. aircraft and can hit targets [31 miles] in distance and 75,000 feet in altitude," Revolutionary Guard Aerospace Division commander Amir Ali Hajizadeh said in remarks reported by Iran's Fars News Agency.

"Given these capabilities, we announce that we will allow no one to even think about aggression against Iran," the official said.

Elsewhere, high-level Obama insiders said the State Department is poised to drop an Iranian resistance group's designation as an extremist entity, the Washington Post reported on Friday. Defenders of the organization People's Mujahedeen have said the group has provided findings on Iranian atomic activities and ended its use of violent tactics.

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