Syria Civil War: Iran Tensions Ramp Up By Sending Arms to Assad Regime
Iranian weapons continue to pour into Syria via Iraq, in direct violation of the United Nations arms embargo on Iran, Western officials told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The report claims that these shipments, "range from communications equipment to light arms and advanced strategic weapons, some of which are being used devastatingly by Hezbollah and the Syrian regime against the Syrian people." Iran's continued violation of UN sanctions should not come as a surprise, as they continue to pursue the development of nuclear weapons even though their economy is being crippled by UN sanctions.
The U.S. Treasury Department has blacklisted Iran Air, Mahan Air and Yas Air for supporting the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, but does it really matter? I don't think so. At this point, Iran is becoming a much larger player in the Syrian War than the U.S. wants to admit. It's not like the U.S. is getting much help from other members of the UN Security Council, as Russia continues to criticizes the U.S., European and Gulf Arab governments for their aid to Syrian rebels seeking to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The most the U.S. could do is pressure other members of the Security Council to increase sanctions on Iran for violating the arms embargo.
Alireza Miryousefi, spokesman for Iran's U.N. mission, was quoted in the same report as saying, "Unfortunately the situation in Syria and the whole Middle East region is becoming more and more delicate and risky because of foreign interference and funneling of arms to the extremist groups," and reiterated that Tehran wanted to end the conflict through dialogue between the government and opposition.
These actions and statements lead one to believe that Iran will continue to support the Syrian government, and expects that even if the United States increases sanctions it would not have any meaningful impact on their operations. Yes, current sanctions have crippled their economy, but it hasn't stopped the Iranian government from continuing its nuclear weapons research and I don't believe increased sanctions with stop the continued flow of Iranian weapons to Syria, either.