Nigerian Secret Service Uncovers Iranian Weapons, Possible New Smuggling Route to Hamas

April 15, 2012

Publication Type: 

  • International Enforcement Actions

Weapon Program: 

  • Military

Mentioned Suspect Entities & Suppliers: 

Related Country: 

  • Nigeria


Wisconsin Project Staff

Nigeria intercepted 13 containers of weapons from Iran on July 15, 2010, when they were unloaded in Tin Can Port, Lagos. The weapons, dispatched by Behineh Trading Co. of Tehran in violation of U.N. Security Council resolution 1747, included 240 tons of ammunition (107mm rockets; 60mm, 81mm and 120mm mortar shells; grenades; and rounds of ammunition). French-based shipping company CMA-CGM, which carried the shipment, said a false cargo declaration (which labeled the goods as building materials) was to blame. Israeli defense sources reportedly believe that Nigeria may be a stop on a new smuggling route from Iran to Hamas.

Entities linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Qods Force (IRGC-Qods Force) and involved in this illicit transaction have been identified and sanctioned. Behineh Trading Co., Ali Akbar Tabatabaei, and Azim Aghajani were sanctioned by the European Union on December 1, 2011 for their role in "furnishing ammunition from Iran via Nigeria." Esmail Ghani, Ali Abbas Usman Jega, Tabatabaei, Aghajani, and Behineh Trading Co. were added on March 27, 2012 to the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list maintained by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control. And Behineh Trading Co., Tabatabaei, and Aghajani were sanctioned by the United Nations on April 18, 2012, for violating U.N. Security Council resolution 1747, which prohibits arms exports from Iran.


[1] “Panel of Experts Established Pursuant to Resolution 1929 (2010) – Final Report,” United Nations Report, May 7, 2011.

[2] Nick Tattersall, “Weapons Seized in Nigeria Came From Iran: Shipping Co,” Reuters, October 31, 2010.

[3] "Council Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1245/2011 of 1 December 2011, Implementing Regulation (EU) No 961/2010 on restrictive measures against Iran," Official Journal of the European Union, L319/13, December 2, 2011.

[4] "Treasury Targets Iranian Arms Shipments," Press Release, U.S. Department of the Treasury, March 27, 2012.

[5] Consolidated Entity List of the Committee Established Pursuant to Security Council resolution 1737, United Nations Security Council, April 18, 2012.

[6] "UN Sanctions Against Iranians in Arms Smuggling," Associated Foreign Press, April 20, 2012.

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