Sanctions hold up Iran nuclear drive: UN report

International sanctions are slowing Iran`s nuclear program.

United Nations: International sanctions
are slowing Iran`s nuclear program but the Islamic Republic
has repeatedly sought to breach an arms embargo by shipping
weapons to Syria, UN investigators said in a report.

Six of the nine violations of a UN ban on conventional
arms shipments by Iran involve Syria, said the report.

The UN Security Council has passed four rounds of
sanctions against Iran over its uranium enrichment, which
western nations say is a front for a nuclear arms drive. A
panel of experts which monitors the sanctions said Iran is
circumventing the action but that nuclear work has been hit.

The sanctions are "slowing Iran`s nuclear program but
are not yet having an impact on the decision calculus of its
leadership with respect to halting uranium enrichment and
heavy water-related activities."
Iran is believed "to be coming close to exhausting
its supply of uranium oxide." It may therefore be seeking new
sources of uranium to expand its enrichment.

The international embargoes, assets freezes and
travel bans have "clearly forced changes in the way in which
Iran procures items," said the report.

"At the same time, Iran`s circumvention of
sanctions across all areas, in particular front companies,
concealment methods in shipping, financial transactions, and
the transfer of conventional arms and related materiel, is
willful and continuing."

The panel of experts recommended adding the names
of new individuals and companies to the UN sanction list.

Iran, which insists its nuclear work is peaceful,
has sought "to procure equipment and technology that fall
below the thresholds for listed items, but which are still
useful, in an attempt to evade sanctions."

The report said Iran has tried to purchase nuclear
technology subject to export controls by placing orders with
intermediaries in countries without rigorous export oversight.

The front companies, set up by Iran`s Revolutionary Guard and
other entities, send the technology on to Iran.

"The panel notes that most reported incidents of
conventional arms-related violations involve Syria, which has
a long and close relationship with Iran," said the report.

"In all such incidents inspected by the panel,
prohibited material was carefully concealed to avoid routine
inspection and hide the identity of end-users."

The experts said it was likely that other
undetected arms shipments had been made and that "other
illicit shipments were identified but not reported" to the UN
sanctions committee.