UN Clears WIPO Shipments To Iran

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The United Nations Security Council committee on sanctions has cleared the UN World Intellectual Property Organization of wrongdoing in shipping high-tech equipment to Iran.

“I wish to convey the Committee’s understanding that nothing in Security Council resolutions 1696 (2006), 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007), 1803 (2008) and 1929 (2010) prohibit the proposed project as described in your letter aimed at assisting Iran in developing technical capacity for intellectual property rights protection,” the 21 September letter to WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said.

The letter is available here [pdf]. WIPO issued the letter in a press release here.

It urges WIPO to carefully review all such shipments, and to follow up on the use of all such equipment in those countries. It also said WIPO should have consulted the committee earlier, and welcomed a plan to regularly update the committee on these activities.

The committee also approved WIPO’s shipments to North Korea yesterday (IPW, United Nations, 24 September 2012).

It is unclear whether the shipments might still be criticised by some in the United States, where sanctions on those countries may be tougher.

The letters come just in time for the annual gathering of WIPO member states, the General Assemblies, taking place next week.

WIPO had consulted the UN committee in early August after it came under international criticism when it became public that is providing technical assistance in the form of computers and equipment to sanctioned countries. There also have been accusations that the technical support, which appeared to be approved with the knowledge of the director general, might be tied to vote-getting for his election in 2008 and coming up in 2014. No evidence of this has come forward, however.

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