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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

24 March 2007

United Nations Imposes New Sanctions on Iran

Unanimous U.N. vote further isolates Tehran

United Nations -- The Security Council March 24 unanimously voted to increase sanctions on Iran for its failure to suspend its uranium enrichment activities, leaving the country increasingly isolated for its defiance of the international community.

Adding new and tougher sanctions to those imposed in December 2006, the Security Council set a total embargo on all weapons from Iran.  It also urged countries to "exercise vigilance and restraint" in supplying, selling or transferring directly or indirectly any battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles or missile systems.  The resolution adds individuals and entities involved in Iran's military or nuclear programs to the list of those whose assets under the previous sanctions are to be frozen and travel restricted.

The council also recommended that governments and financial institutions refrain from providing financial assistance, grants and concessional loans to the Government of Iran, except for humanitarian and development purposes.

If Iran complies with the resolution, the sanctions will be suspended, the council said in the resolution.  If Iran does not comply within 60 days, it will "adopt further appropriate measures."

Acting U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Alejandro Wolff said the unanimous passage of the resolution "sends a clear and unambiguous message to Iran:  The regime's continued pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability, in violation of its treaty obligations as a member state of the United Nations, will only further isolate Iran and make it less, not more, secure."

In his remarks to the Security Council, Wolff addressed the Iranian people, emphasizing U.S. hopes "for a different dynamic with Iran."

"These measures we are adopting today are in no way meant to punish the civilian population of Iran," the U.S. ambassador said.  The resolution "is properly tailored to target Iranian institutions and officials that support Iran's nuclear and missile programs."

"The world has benefited greatly from the rich, vibrant culture that the people of Iran have to offer.  My own country is proud to be the home to hundreds of thousands of citizens and residents of Iranian origin -- and we are fortunate to benefit from their many contributions to our society," Wolff said.


British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry read the text of a statement from the five permanent members of the council with the support of the European Union (EU) reaffirming their June 2006 offer to negotiate with Iran.

"The unanimous adoption of Security Council resolution 1747 reflects the international community's profound concerns over Iran's nuclear program," the statement said.  "We are committed to seeking a negotiated solution that would address the international community's concerns.

"The purpose of negotiation would be to reach a comprehensive agreement with Iran, based on mutual respect that would re-establish international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program and open the way to improving relations and developing wider cooperation between Iran and all our countries," the statement said.

"We urge Iran to take this opportunity to engage with us all and to find a negotiated way forward.  Our proposals would bring far-reaching benefits to Iran and to the region, and they provide a means to address the international community's concerns while taking account of Iran's legitimate interests," it said.

U.S. Under Secretary of State R. Nicholas Burns said in addition to the statement, EU High Representative Javier Solana and other European foreign ministers will reach out to Iranian officials to encourage them to reconsider.

The United States "hopes very much Iran will reconsider and will come to the negotiating table," Burns said at a press briefing after the Security Council vote.

"The United States will not be involved in these direct discussions with Iran in the weeks ahead, but we certainly are encouraging them," the under secretary said.  (See related article.)

The resolution, number 1747, was sponsored by France, Germany and the United Kingdom and drafted by those three countries as well as China, Russia and the United States.  (See related article.)

One annex lists 15 individuals and 13 entities involved in nuclear or ballistic missile activities, including the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp and Iran's fourth largest bank -- Bank Sepah --  that are to be placed on the sanctions list.  Individuals include Amir Rahimi, head of the Esfahan Nuclear Fuel Research and Production Center; Seyed Jaber Safdari, manager of the Natanz Enrichment Facilities; Ahmad Derakhandeh, chairman of Bank Sepah; Brig. Gen. Morteza Rezaie, deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guard; and Vice Adm. Ali Akbar Ahmadian, chief of the Revolutionary Guard Joint Staff.

In December 2006, the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1737, which 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. (See related article.)

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

The full text of the statement from the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council is available on the State Department Web site.

For further information on U.S. policy, see Limiting Nuclear Weapons and The United States and the United Nations.

(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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