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Security Council Schedules Iran Sanctions Vote

March 23, 2007 -- Diplomats say the United Nations Security Council intends to vote on March 24 on a draft resolution that would tighten sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.

The announcement was made after the major powers on the Security Council considered amendments to the draft that were proposed by Indonesia, Qatar, and South Africa -- all non-permanent members of the Security Council.

Diplomats say some minor changes were accepted, but the five veto-holding members of the Security Council -- the United States, Russia, France, Britain, and China -- rejected South Africa's proposal for a 90-day suspension of sanctions on Iran.

"The text that we have submitted is one which we believe finds the center of gravity of the debate," British UN Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry told journalists. "It's an appropriate, proportional, incremental response to the situation, and it is one where we have sought to take account of the views of the council."

The draft resolution again demands that Iran halt uranium-enrichment activities. The proposed new sanctions would ban Iranian arms exports and impose an international freeze on the assets of 28 individuals and organizations involved in Iran's nuclear and missile programs.

Meanwhile, Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has pledged that Iran will make "new proposals" aimed at resolving the international dispute over the nuclear program.

In an interview with French television on March 22, Ahmadinejad, however, again rejected United Nations Security Council demands for Iran to halt uranium enrichment.

He said was not worried about the possibility of U.S. military strikes against Iran, saying the circumstances do not favor such an attack being carried out.

(compiled from agency reports)

Copyright (c) 2007. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

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