EU seizes Russian nuclear cargo to Iran

RUSSIA’S main nuclear exporter – JSC AtomStroyExport, the export arm of Russia’s Atomic Energy Ministry – may have broken European rules by shipping airfreight bound for an Iranian nuclear power plant through Europe.

The shipments didn’t break United Nations (UN) sanctions but Europe and the US, unhappy at the softening of the agreed sanctions, made to get agreement from China and Russia, want to make their own independent sanctions.

Russia maintains that this is against the spirit of UN resolutions. “We do not accept attempts to put oneself above the Security Council,” its foreign ministry said in a statement.

In November 2009 and January 2010, Germany seized Russian nuclear cargo heading for Iran, shipments handled by Lufthansa Cargo, and Emirates SkyCargo and AirBridgeCargo Airlines respectively. Germany claimed the seizures on the grounds that EU law – which is harsher than UN – prohibits nuclear-related equipment being shipped to Iran across EU territory.

In February, German investigators searched the offices of Lufthansa Cargo, Emirates SkyCargo and AirBridgeCargo Airlines at Frankfurt Airport for further evidence of the airlines’ role in shipping the nuclear material.

A European intelligence official said the seized shipments represent only the “tip of the iceberg” of Russian shipments to Iran.

Share this story