The former secretary-general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, has expressed his concern regarding Iran to the Security Council. The ex-UN chief in the second bi-annual report, which will be discussed by the council on January 18, said that Tehran might have violated an arms embargo by supplying weapons and missiles to Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah.

The confidential report, seen by Reuters on Sunday (8 January), was submitted to the 15-member council by Ban on 30 December before he was succeeded by Antonio Guterres on 1 January.

The report also contains an accusation by France, where it had said that an arms shipment seized in the northern Indian Ocean in March 2016 was from Iran and likely bound for Somalia or Yemen.

"In a televised speech broadcast by Al Manar TV on 24 June 2016, Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary-General of Hezbollah, stated that the budget of Hezbollah, its salaries, expenses, weapons and missiles all came from the Islamic Republic of Iran." Ban wrote in the report, according to the Reuters.

"I am very concerned by this statement, which suggests that transfers of arms and related material from the Islamic Republic of Iran to Hezbollah may have been undertaken contrary (to a Security Council resolution)," Ban added in the report.

However, Iran's mission to the UN said, "Measures undertaken by the Islamic Republic of Iran in combating terrorism and violent extremism in the region have been consistent with its national security interests and international commitments," when questioned by the intergovernmental organisation over the issue.

Iran struck a deal with Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia, the United States and the European Union to curb its nuclear program and as a result of which most UN sanctions were lifted a year ago.

However, Iran is still subject to an arms embargo and other restrictions.

Under a Security Council resolution preserving the deal, the UN secretary-general is required to report every six months to the council on any violations of sanctions still in place.