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UN slaps new curbs on Iran. Decision damaging for UNSC, says Iran
Thursday, June 10, 2010 11:38:34 AM, Agencies
United Nations: The UN Security Council which failed to take any action on Israel imposed a fourth round of sanctions on a defiant Iran on Wednesday over a nuclear program the West suspects is aimed at developing the means to build atom bombs.
The 15-nation council passed a resolution that was the product of five months of talks between the United States, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia. With 12 votes in favor, it received the least support of the four Iran sanctions resolutions adopted since 2006.
The four Western powers had wanted much tougher measures - some targeting Iran's energy sector - but Beijing and Moscow succeeded in diluting the steps outlined in the 10-page resolution.
"This council has risen to its responsibilities. Now Iran should choose a wiser course," US Ambassador Susan Rice told the council after the vote.
Iran denies Western allegations that it is seeking nuclear weapons, insisting that its uranium enrichment program is for peaceful energy purposes only.
The resolution calls for measures against new Iranian banks abroad if a connection to the nuclear or missile programs is suspected, as well as vigilance over transactions with any Iranian bank, including the central bank.
It also expands a UN arms embargo against Tehran and blacklists three firms controlled by Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines and 15 belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The resolution also calls for setting up a cargo inspection regime similar to one in place for North Korea.
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Tuesday that individual states will likely move quickly to pass their own measures that go beyond the UN sanctions.
Annexed to the draft resolution is a list of 40 companies to be added to an existing UN blacklist of firms whose assets around the world are to be frozen on suspicion of aiding Iran's nuclear or missile programs.
The focus of heated last-minute negotiations, the new blacklist that emerged on Tuesday morning contained 41 firms, including two banks. By the end of the day China had demanded the deletion of one bank, the Export Development Bank of Iran.
Brazil and Turkey voted against the resolution. Their UN envoys said before the vote that they saw no reason for more sanctions against Tehran.
Turkey and Brazil last month revived parts of a plan brokered by UN nuclear inspectors in October for Tehran to part with 1,200 kg (2,600 pounds) of low enriched uranium (LEU) return for special fuel rods for a medical research reactor.
They said the deal bolstered the case against sanctions. But the United States, Britain, France and Germany say the deal did nothing to change Tehran's refusal to suspend uranium enrichment in defiance of five Security Council resolutions.
Lebanon had made clear it was unable to support the resolution because the Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah is in the government. It abstained in the vote.
Iran had proposed to part with no more LEU - potential atomic bomb material if enriched to a very high purity level - than it did under the original October deal, even though its LEU stockpile had almost doubled since then, they said. Iran had also begun refining uranium to a higher level in February.
The first two Iran sanctions resolutions, adopted in 2006 and 2007, passed unanimously. The council approved a third set of sanctions in 2008 with 14 "Yes" votes and one abstention.
Three rounds of punitive measures aimed at Iran's nuclear and missile industries have hit its economy hard but failed to persuade its leadership to halt its nuclear program or come to the negotiating table.
Iran's UN ambassador, Mohammad Khazaee said on Tuesday that the push for sanctions showed that some "prefer confrontation" and Iran would react in an "appropriate" way.
Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of the Iranian parliament's national security committee, said lawmakers would review the level of Iran's co-operation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
And Manouchehr Mottaki, the Iranian foreign minister, said the vote "damaged" the UN Security Council.
Brazil and Turkey, both of whom last month negotiated a nuclear fuel swap dealwith Iran, warned that the new sanctions package would spoil the prospect of continued diplomacy with Tehran.
"We do not see sanctions as an effective instrument... [the] spiral of sanctions, threats and isolation can result in tragic consequences," said Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, Brazil's ambassador to the UN.
"The concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear program.... will not be resolved until dialogue begins."
Ahmadinejad has warned that the sanctions bill would scrap the fuel swap deal, which was agreed to last month.
Under the proposed deal, Iran would ship 1200 kilograms of enriched uranium to Turkey in return for nuclear fuel for a reactor in Tehran.
The US and its allies have been indifferent to the proposal, saying it was not a serious offer.
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