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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

15 March 2007

U.N. Draft Resolution Would Set New Sanctions on Iran

United States hopes for speedy adoption by Security Council

United Nations -- The five permanent members of the Security Council (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) and Germany have agreed on new military and financial sanctions against Iran for its nuclear activities and sent the text of a new resolution to the other members of the council for consideration.

The group, referred to as the P5+1, has been negotiating language that would increase sanctions against Iran for its rejection of Security Council demands to suspend uranium enrichment and return to negotiations.

U.S. Ambassador Alejandro Wolff said that the draft resolution "is a good balanced, incremental step. The focus remains on getting Iran to suspend its nuclear enrichment related activities. If they suspend and that is verified, these measures would be suspended."

The aim of the new resolution, said Wolff, the acting U.S. representative to the United Nations, is to get Iran "to return again to the negotiating table and deal with this issue politically."

The resolution "addresses a number of areas -- travel restrictions on individuals involved in Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs, arms embargo on any export of arms from Iran, constraint and vigilance on imports of arms by Iran," Wolff said.

The ambassador said the text will be discussed with the 10 nonpermanent members of the Security Council over the next days, but "the goal is a speedy adoption of this resolution."

Security Council President Dumisani Kumalo said that the ambassadors, after consulting with capitals, are scheduled to meet again to discuss the draft on March 21.

The Security Council has been united on the need for Iran to suspend its enrichment activities, Wolff said. "We would like to see the entire council on board [with the new resolution]. It's an important objective to get as many supporters as possible, but timeliness is also an important imperative."

The draft resolution calls on nations "to exercise vigilance and restraint" in the supply, sale or transfer directly or indirectly of any battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles or missile systems.

It calls on nations and international financial institutions to refrain from providing new grants, financial assistance and concessional loans to Iran except for humanitarian and development purposes.

An annex lists 15 individuals and 13 entities, including the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corporation, that are believed to be involved in nuclear or ballistic missile activities and would be placed on the sanctions list. Individuals include Amir Rahimi, head of Esfahan Nuclear Fuel Research and Production Center; Seyed Jaber Safdari, manager of the Natanz Enrichment Facilities; Ahmad Derakhandeh, chairman of Bank Sepah; Brigadier General Morteza Rezaie, deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guard; and Vice Admiral Ali Akbar Ahmadian, chief of the Revolutionary Guard Joint Staff.

U.S. Ambassador Wolff said "it is natural and fitting" that the sanctions include the military because "if Iran is, as we all believe, engaged in a nuclear weapons program that by definition is military."

French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said that the resolution's message is clear: "These measures are gradual and they are reversible. That means in 60 days from now if we have no answer, we will have more sanctions. We want Iran to fully respect its international obligations."

At the United Nations for meetings with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, de Villepin said the Security Council's actions are creating a debate in Iran that is positive "because Iran today knows, and the people of Iran today know, that they have a choice of a better Iran, more satisfaction for the life of millions of Iranians" if Tehran ends its enrichment activities and returns to international negotiations.

In December 2006, the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1737 that required nations to freeze the assets of individuals and entities identified as having a key role in Iran's nuclear program, prohibited countries from supplying Iran with dual-use equipment and barred Iran from exporting any nuclear weapons-related equipment or technology to other countries. It gave Iran 60 days to stop enrichment activities or face additional sanctions. (See related article.)

Permanent members of the council are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Nonpermanent members are Belgium, Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Indonesia, Italy, Panama, Peru, Qatar, Slovakia and South Africa.

For additional information, see  Limiting Nuclear Weapons.

(USINFO is produced by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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