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Dutch deliver banned nuclear equipment to Iranian group
Authorities in the Netherlands improperly supplied nuclear equipment to the sanctioned Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), the Dutch Economic Affairs Ministry wrote in an October 4 letter obtained by The Jerusalem Post.
According to Economic Affairs Minister Maria van der Hoeven’s letter, “That shipment contained a helium-leak detector, which was ordered by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in line with its technical cooperation program with Iran, [but] was shipped to a banned recipient (AEOI).”
The UN agency’s involvement in the delivery of EUsanctioned material raises thorny questions about the role of the IAEA in monitoring Iran’s illicit proliferation efforts.
The American government sanctioned the AEOI under an executive order and the US Treasury Department noted that “The AEOI manages Iran’s overall nuclear program and reports directly to the Iranian president.”
According to Van der Hoeven’s letter, a second illicit shipment “consisted of products under embargo (pressure meters) for the Iranian oil and gas industry.”
Ruud Stevens, a spokesman for the Dutch Economics Ministry, wrote the Post by e-mail on Thursday that “the letter of October 4 was a letter to the Dutch parliament from three ministers – economic affairs, finance (customs) and foreign affairs – about goods that because of the sanctions were not supposed to leave the Netherlands.
“Since the goods left the customs territory of the European Union before the error was discovered, there was no possibility for our customs to stop the goods from being transported.
The public prosecutor is currently examining whether there is sufficient information for prosecution of the exporters for violation of the sanctions legislation.”
Stevens added that “The Dutch authorities and Dutch customs are currently working on implementation of the new UN and EU sanctions against Iran.”
In a telephone interview with the Post on Thursday, a spokesman for the IAEA in Vienna said that “we do have technical cooperation with Iran and other states.”
When asked about the delivery of nuclear equipment ordered by the IAEA to a USrestricted Iranian entity, AEOI, the spokesman could not immediately comment.
It is unclear if the IAEA improperly supplied a sanctioned Iranian entity with equipment. The delivery of the Dutch material violated EU sanctions.
The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran is the main official body responsible for implementing regulations and operating nuclear energy installations in Iran.
Yanaï Bar, the coordinator of the Iran Committee in the Netherlands, told the Post on Wednesday, that “The Iran Committee is disappointed to see that after all the labor it took to formulate sanctions to punish Iran for not cooperating satisfactorily with the IAEA, the sanctions are not always being implemented effectively.”
The Iran Committee seeks to stop Iran’s nuclear program and to improve human rights conditions in Iran.
“The minister of economic affairs must guarantee she will do all she can to ensure that mechanisms are in place to guarantee that the sanctions are implemented on the ground. Publishing far and wide a list with forbidden products and prosecuting those who breach the regulations would be a good start,” Bar said.
BENJAMIN WEINTHAL Jerusalem Post