The news reported by Reuters comes as the U.S. Senate debates the revised Corker-Menendez bill which will require any nuclear agreement with Iran be reviewed by the Senate.
"The UK government informed the [United Nations sanctions] Panel on 20 April 2015 that it 'is aware of an active Iranian nuclear procurement network which has been associated with Iran's Centrifuge Technology Company (TESA) and Kalay Electric Company (KEC)'," the Panel of Experts said in its annual report. The panel monitors Iran's compliance with the U.N. sanctions regime.
KEC is under U.N. Security Council sanctions while TESA is under U.S. and European Union sanctions due to their suspected links to banned Iranian nuclear activities.
Iran, which is has been under sanctions for years, has a long history of illicit nuclear procurement using front companies and other methods of skirting sanctions.
The panel's document did not contain further details on the British report.
The panel said it had received no new reports from U.N. member states of confirmed cases of non-compliance involving Iranian nuclear procurement. However, it cautioned that the lack of such reports could be due to multiple reasons.In other words Iran's ongoing illicit activities are unchanged, and yet there's been a complete drop off - zero new reports - from member states who are supposed to track those activities.
"The current situation with reporting could reflect a general reduction of procurement activities by the Iranian side or a political decision by some member states to refrain from reporting to avoid any possible negative impact on ongoing negotiations between ... Iran and (major powers)," it said.
Despite the lack of newly confirmed violations the panel said that "some member states informed the panel that according to their assessment, the Islamic Republic of Iran's procurement trends and (sanctions) circumvention techniques remain basically unchanged."
It cited an example of an unnamed member state saying that an Iranian entity had recently attempted to acquire compressors, a key component in the uranium enrichment process, using false end-user certificates in an attempt to evade controls.
The conclusion from the panel is that there's been "a political decision by some member states to refrain from reporting to avoid any possible negative impact on ongoing negotiations." That a polite diplo-speak way of accusing governments of withholding intelligence on Iranian cheating, because it would make it awkward to sell an Iran deal to their skeptical public and legislators.
According to news reports, the Obama administration is certainly hiding news about Iran cheating. Below are just three examples:
- April 14th-Washington Institute report: Changing Iran Trends in the Worldwide Threat Assessment -- Each year, the director of national intelligence presents Congress with a "Worldwide Threat Assessment" detailing the range of security threats to the United States, with the latest edition released this February. The past two editions of the annual intelligence report show a marked shift away from discussing Iran's hegemonic regional ambitions and terrorism sponsorship.
- April 14th- Wall Street Journal: The CIA Needs an Iran 'Team B'--Picture CIA analysts and other officers charged with weighing and interpreting Iran’s nuclear program in relation to the recently concluded negotiations in Lausanne, Switzerland; that is, CIA analysts who have families and mortgages. Their solemn charge is to report and analyze facts straight-on—the good, the bad and the ugly. (...) But the boss has already said that purported concerns about Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon are dishonest. Human nature being what it is at Langley as elsewhere, how likely is it that an evaluation suggesting that Iran is up to something would make it beyond operational channels,through reports officers, analysts and CIA managers, up to policy makers?
- April 15th-Washington Free Beacon: North Korea Transfers Missile Goods to Iran During Nuclear Talks -- Intelligence suppressed by Obama administration