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UN Council Approves Sanctions Resolution Vs Iran December 23, 2006

Posted by notapundit in World News.
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UNITED NATIONS (AP)–The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Saturday imposing sanctions against Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment, culminating two months of tough negotiations aimed at pressuring Tehran to return to negotiations and clarify its nuclear ambitions.

The resolution orders all countries to ban the supply of specified materials and technology that could contribute to Iran’s nuclear and missile programs. It also imposes an asset freeze on key companies and individuals in the country’s nuclear and missile programs named on a U.N. list.

If Iran refuses to comply, the resolution warns Iran that the council will adopt further non-military sanctions.

Iran insists its nuclear program is aimed solely at the peaceful production of nuclear energy, but the Americans and Europeans suspect Tehran’s ultimate goal is the production of nuclear weapons.

In a lengthy speech to the council after the vote, Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Javad Zarif denounced the council for imposing sanctions on Iran, which opposes nuclear weapons and has its facilities under U.N. safeguards, while doing nothing about Israel whose prime minister recently confirmed long suspicions that it is a nuclear power.

“A nation is being punished for exercising its inalienable rights” to develop nuclear energy, primarily at the behest of the United States, Zarif said, calling the council’s demand to suspend enrichment an “unlawful demand.”

Until the last moments before the vote, it wasn’t clear whether all 15 Security Council members would support the resolution.

Russia and China, which both have strong commercial ties to Tehran, have pressed for a step-by-step approach to sanctions, and Qatar has supported Iran’s peaceful use of nuclear energy. By contrast, the U.S. has pushed for very tough sanctions, with U.K. and France taking a slightly softer view.

In a final attempt to win Russian support, key European nations circulated a new text late Friday – and that brought Moscow and Beijing on board, but only after one Iranian company – Aerospace Industries Organization – was dropped from the list of companies and individuals subject to sanctions to meet Russia’s final demand. France’s U.N. Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere stressed, however, that several of its subsidies, which he didn’t identify, remain on the list.

Qatar’s U.N. Ambassador Nassir Al-Nassir, the only Arab member of the council and its current president, was the last to make his country’s intentions known, telling members just before the vote that Qatar would vote yes “because we are concerned about the safety of Iranian nuclear facilities.”

On Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin called U.S. President George W. Bush to discuss the Iran vote, agreeing on the need to move forward with a resolution, said Blain Rethmeier, a spokesman for Bush. The two leaders “stressed the importance of maintaining a unified position on Iran’s nuclear program,” Rethmeier said.

Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said Moscow voted “yes” because it wants to send “a serious message” to Iran “to lift remaining concerns over its nuclear program.”

He stressed that the goal must be to resume talks. If Iran suspends enrichment and reprocessing, the resolution calls for a suspension of sanctions “which would pave the way for a negotiated solution,” Churkin said.

China’s U.N. Ambassador Wang Guangya expressed regret and disappointment that Iran hasn’t responded positively to demands from the International Atomic Energy Agency to suspend enrichment and clarify its nuclear program. He called for stepped up diplomatic efforts to peacefully resolve the issue.

“China wishes to emphasize that sanctions are not the end but a means to urge Iran to resume negotiations,” he said.

Acting U.S. Ambassador Alejandro Wolff expressed regret that “Iran continues to defy the international community by its continued enrichment activities” forcing the council to impose sanctions. He expressed hope that the sanctions “will convince Iran that the best way to ensure security is to abandon” nuclear enrichment.

Iran insists its nuclear program is aimed solely at the peaceful production of nuclear energy, but the Americans and Europeans suspect Tehran’s ultimate goal is the production of nuclear weapons.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reiterated Tuesday that possible Security Council sanctions wouldn’t stop Iran from pursuing uranium enrichment, a technology that can be used to produce nuclear fuel for civilian purposes or fuel for a nuclear bomb.

The resolution authorizes action under Article 41 of Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter. It allows the Security Council to impose nonmilitary sanctions such as completely or partially severing diplomatic and economic relations, transportation and communications links.

If Iran fails to comply with the resolution, the draft says the council will adopt “further appropriate measures” under Article 41.

During negotiations, a mandatory travel ban was dropped at Russia’s insistence.

Instead, the resolution calls on all states “to exercise vigilance” regarding the entry or transit through their territory of those on a U.N. list that names 12 top Iranians involved in the country’s nuclear and missile programs. It asks the 191 other U.N. member states to notify a Security Council committee that will be created to monitor sanctions when those Iranians show up in their country.

The resolution also says the council will review Iran’s actions in light of a report from the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, requested within 60 days, on whether Iran has suspended uranium enrichment and complied with other IAEA demands.

If the IAEA verifies that Iran has suspended enrichment and reprocessing, the resolution says the sanctions will be suspended to allow for negotiations. It says sanctions will be terminated as soon as the IAEA board confirms that Iran has complied with all its obligations.

Before the final text was circulated, Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin pressed for amendments to ensure that Moscow can conduct legitimate nuclear activities in Iran – a point Churkin stressed Saturday morning.

Russia is building Iran’s first atomic power plant at Bushehr, which is expected to go on line in late 2007. A reference to Bushehr in the original draft was removed earlier – as Russia demanded.

The six key parties trying to curb Iran’s nuclear program – U.K., France, Germany, Russia, China and the U.S. – offered Tehran a package of economic incentives and political rewards in June if it agreed to consider a long-term moratorium on enrichment and committed itself to a freeze on uranium enrichment before talks on its nuclear program.

That package remains on the table for Iran to consider.

But with Iran refusing to comply with an Aug. 31 council deadline to stop enrichment, U.K. and France circulated a draft sanctions resolution in late October, which has been revised several times since then.

To meet concerns of Russia and China that the original resolution was too broad, it was changed to specify in greater detail exactly what materials and technology would be prohibited from being supplied to Iran and to name those individuals and companies that would be affected.

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