Iran seeks to smuggle in raw uranium despite new U.S. tougher sanctions against Iran


WASHINGTON — A new intelligence report says that Iran is trying to smuggle in massive amounts of uranium which constitutes a clear violation of the new sanctions approved by the U.S. House of Representatives in a move proponents had hoped would have helped in preventing the extremist Islamic regime from developing nuclear weapons.

According to the report by the International Atomic Energy Agency obtained by the Associated Press, Iran is running low on purified uranium and is trying to acquire  1,350 tons of the nuclear material from a source in Kazakhstan for $450 million.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said, "The transfer of any uranium yellowcake ... to Iran would constitute a clear violation of UNSC sanctions."

The House passed the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act by a 412-12 vote. The bill, H.R. 2194, called for the imposition of sanctions on anyone who knowingly enables Iran to continue or increase its domestic oil production or who aids in the importation of oil products to the southwest Asian country.

Efforts by the international community to persuade Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions have failed so far. There is evidence Iran is able to produce low-enriched uranium and has tested missiles.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the outgoing director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said negotiations with Iran to keep it from developing nuclear weapons are at a "dead end," according to The Wall Street Journal.

Christian leaders sent two letters to Congress urging action on sanctions for companies that aid Iran.

In the most recent letter, Dec. 10, they wrote, "A nuclear-armed Iran is almost certain to initiate an arms race with other Middle Eastern and Arab nations who have reason to fear the religious, political and military ambitions of Iran's extremist leaders." Calling Iran the "world's leading state sponsor of international terror," the signers said they "must assume" the regime will provide nuclear weapons "to extremist groups that are declared and demonstrated enemies to America and her allies."

In addition to supporting terrorist organizations in other countries, Iran oppresses its own citizens' rights. Tehran "is currently arresting and detaining political opponents, actively persecutes its Christian citizens, [and] has shot protestors in cold blood in the streets," according to the letter from Christian Leaders for a Nuclear-free Iran.

Ahmadinejad has been especially provocative toward Israel, denying the Holocaust and threatening to destroy the Jewish state.

Iran is one of only eight countries to be classified by the U.S. State Department as "countries of particular concern," a designation reserved for the world's worst violators of religious liberty.

Additional signers included Gary Bauer, president of American Values; Pat Robertson, president of the Christian Broadcasting Network; Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America; Tom Minnery, senior vice president of Focus on the Family; Mathew Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel; and Jordan Sekulow, director of international operations for the American Center for Law and Justice.

CE staff, BP news and wire reports compiled for this report

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