More than 200 Palestinian rockets have descended on Israel in recent days, triggering an Israeli counteroffensive that was still taking shape as we went to press Tuesday. But as the drama plays out in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel, it’s worth noting the role Iran-now under new and allegedly moderate leadership-has played in this latest spasm of violence.
In March, Israeli naval commandos interdicted a Panamanian-flagged ship, the Klos C, off the Sudanese coast in the Red Sea. The ship’s cargo contained 40 M-302 surface-to-surface rockets, 181 mortar shells and some 400,000 rounds of 7.62 caliber ammunition-all concealed under bags of Iranian cement. The weapons were almost certainly intended for Iran’s terrorist clients in Gaza.
Tehran denies any role in the shipment. But a recent classified report from the U.N. Security Council’s Sanctions Committee effectively confirms it, and we’ve seen the pertinent portions. The panel found that Bandar Abbas, a southern Iranian port, “is established as the origin of the shipment of 100 containers of cement, including the 20 containing weapons and ammunition.”
The panel based this finding on, among other things, the ship’s “cargo manifest dated 4 February 2014,” its “container stowage plan from Bandar Abbas” and “statements made by the captain to Israeli officials.” The manner of concealment, the panel added, “is consistent with several other cases reported to the Committee.”
The panel concluded: “The shipment of arms and related material found aboard the Klos C is a violation of Iran’s obligations under paragraph 5 of resolution 1747,” referring to an embargo on Iranian arms transfers imposed by the Security Council in 2007. The panel didn’t weigh in on the ultimate intended recipient of the shipment, yet previous such shipments have made their way to Gaza.
The Obama Administration and some of its European allies are openly contemplating a partnership with the Iranian regime to help stabilize the Middle East and deter groups like ISIS. The U.N. report is a fresh reminder, if one were needed, that the Islamic Republic abets the very terrorism and instability it is now being enlisted to stop.