Last Updated: Sun Oct 17, 2010 00:20 am (KSA) 21:20 pm (GMT)

UN slaps fourth set of sanctions on Iran

The UN Security Council set to vote on hitting Iran with new sanctions
The UN Security Council set to vote on hitting Iran with new sanctions

World powers slapped the fourth set of U.N. sanctions on Iran Wednesday hoping to persuade the Islamic republic to curb its suspect nuclear program by widening military and financial restrictions.

The vote in the 15-member council was 12 in favor of the U.S.-drafted resolution, with Lebanon abstaining and Brazil and Turkey voting against.

Brazilian Ambassador to the UN Viotti votes agaisnt sanctions on Iran

Iran will not halt its contested uranium enrichment activities in spite of the new UN sanctions, Tehran's envoy to the UN atomic watchdog responded.

Foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told state-owned Al-Alam Television that "the move towards the resolution was an incorrect step. It was neither constructive nor efficient in solving the issue. We think it will complicate the situation more."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has threatened to suspend nuclear negotiations in response to what U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said are "the most significant sanctions that Iran has ever faced."

The resolution, co-sponsored by Britain and France with the backing of Russia and China, expands an arms embargo and bans the country from sensitive activities like uranium mining.

It authorizes states to conduct high-sea inspections of vessels believed to be ferrying banned items for Iran and adds 40 entities to a list of people and groups subject to travel restrictions and financial sanctions.

The vote had been delayed for more than an hour after hold-outs Brazil, Turkey and Lebanon awaited instructions from their governments. The three countries finally decided to attend the meeting but insisted on speaking before the vote to register their opposition.

The Security Council resolution was approved despite the sustained efforts of Brazil and Turkey to head off the measures and promote a nuclear fuel swap deal they reached with Tehran last month.

The West has cold-shouldered that proposal, saying it did not allay fears that Tehran is using its contested nuclear drive as a cover to produce nuclear weapons. Iran insists its nuclear program is for civilian purposes only.

Four rounds of U.N. sanctions have now been imposed on Iran since December 2006. The third round was adopted on March 3, 2008.

Angry warnings

 have said that the U.S. government and its allies are mistaken if they think they can brandish the stick of resolution and then sit down to talk with us, such a thing will not happen 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Ahmadinejad has angrily warned that negotiations with Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany on his country's nuclear program would be terminated if the sanctions were passed.

"I have said that the U.S. government and its allies are mistaken if they think they can brandish the stick of resolution and then sit down to talk with us, such a thing will not happen," Ahmadinejad said.

Among those subject to the new travel restrictions are Javad Rahiqi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran's Isfahan nuclear technology center.

According to the text, 22 of the entities are linked to Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs, 15 are "owned, controlled, or acting on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps" and three are controlled by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines.

The western campaign was boosted by getting Russia and China onboard.
But Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, whose country has strong economic ties with Tehran, pressed for tempered sanctions.

"Sanctions are basically ineffective," Putin told AFP in an interview late Monday, adding Moscow was working with other countries to ease concerns over Iran's nuclear program.

"We are ready, together with the entire international community, to seek a resolution to Iranian nuclear problems and we will move down this path together," Putin said.

Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, also stressed that Washington remained "committed to the dual-track approach" of pressure through sanctions coupled with negotiations."

Ahmadinejad, however, urged Western powers not to dismiss the deal brokered by Turkey and Brazil last month, which he described as an opportunity that should be "put to good use."

"Opportunities will not be repeated," he warned.

Under the plan, Iran agreed to ship 1,200 kilograms (2,640 pounds) of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey in return for high-enriched uranium fuel for a Tehran research reactor that would be supplied later by Russia and France.

Ahead of Wednesday's meeting, the United States, France and Russia formally replied to the International Atomic Energy Agency to Iran's proposals for the nuclear fuel swap.

The three had proposed in October that they take most of Iran's low-enriched uranium (LEU) and turn it into the much-needed fuel for a reactor which makes radioisotopes for medical use. Tehran rejected that plan.

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