Draft for ‘strong’ new UN sanctions against Iran

19 May 2010

Plans for a fourth set of UN sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme are being circulated among all 15 members of the Security Council. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the five veto-wielding members had agreed on a “strong” draft resolution. The measures foresee cargo ship inspections and new banking controls. They come despite a recent deal in which Iran agreed to send low-enriched uranium to Turkey in return for enriched fuel for a research reactor. But Mrs Clinton suggested Iran had been trying to deflect pressure.
For US officials the core issue was that Iran intended to continue enriching uranium, which the UN has banned. The Turkish deal, which Brazil helped to negotiate on Monday, was similar to one proposed by the West and its allies last year.

The US is quite confident of getting a majority of Council members behind the resolution although it may not get unanimity. The vote is expected in June. The sanctions, Hillary Clinton added, are not as strong as Western states would have wanted and some proposals were watered down by Russia and China. There have been three rounds of UN sanctions against Iran, blocking trade of “sensitive nuclear material”, freezing the financial assets of those involved in Iran’s nuclear activities, banning all of Iran’s arms exports and encouraging scrutiny of the dealings of Iranian banks. The US and its Western allies fear that Iran is secretly trying to build a nuclear bomb. Tehran says its programme is aimed solely at peaceaful energry use.

Proposals in the 10-page resolution include:
• A comprehensive new framework for cargo ship inspections both in ports and on the high seas if there is reason to suspect a ship is carrying conventional arms or nuclear missile items
• A ban on countries selling tanks, armoured combat vehicles, warplanes, warships and other heavy weapons to Iran
• A ban on the opening of new branches, subsidiaries or representative offices of Iranian banks if there are grounds for believing that they are linked to nuclear proliferation
• Greater vigilance over transactions involving Iranian banks in order to prevent such transanctions contributing to proliferation of sensitive nuclear activities
• The placing of more members of the Revolutionary Guards on a list to have their assets frozen

Brazil’s UN envoy said his country was not “engaging in any discussion on a draft at this point because we feel that there is a new situation”.
“There was an agreement yesterday which is a very important one,” Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti was quoted as telling reporters on the sidelines of the Security Council meeting. Earlier, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the world to support Monday’s deal with Iran. But he added that if Iran did not ship out the uranium within one month, as agreed, then it would be on its own.

Talking about the Turkish deal, Mrs Clinton accused Tehran of trying to deflect pressure from the major powers. “We don’t believe it was any accident that Iran agreed to this declaration as we were preparing to move forward in New York,” she said. “The fact that we had Russia on board, we had China on board and that we were moving early this week, namely today, to share the text of that resolution, put pressure on Iran which they were trying to somehow dissipate.”

source: BBC News

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