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Saturday, December 23, 2006

UN Security Council Passes Iran Sanctions

What we don't know yet: Is this resolution like the UN resolution that led to the first Iraq war, or is it like the League of Nations sanctions against Italy for invading Abyssinia?
UN Security Council Passes Iran Sanctions
UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 23, 2006
(CBS/AP) The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution on 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 Security Council resolution passed Saturday, which orders all countries to ban the supply of weapons technology and imposes a limited assets freeze, was a watered down but unanimous message to Iran that it cannot pursue its nuclear program without safeguards," said CBS News Foreign Affairs Analyst Pamela Falk from the U.N. on Saturday.
If Iran refuses to comply, the resolution warns Iran that the council will adopt further non-military sanctions.
"Iran's Ambassador, Javad Zarif, presented a defiant response, mocking the Security Council action," said Falk, "and as he spoke, his anger increased, his finger pointed at Deputy U.S. Ambassador Alejandro Wolff, and you could practically see smoke coming out of his ears."
In Tehran, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini condemned the Security Council resolution as an illegal measure outside the council's jurisdiction.
Hosseini told state-run television the resolution "cannot affect or limit
Iran's peaceful nuclear activities but will discredit the decisions of the Security Council, whose power is deteriorating."
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."
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.
In a final attempt to win Russian support, key European nations circulated a new text of the U.N. resolution late on Friday.
"The Security Council resolution was negotiated at the highest levels including a phone call between President George W. Bush and Russia's President Vladimir Putin in the hours before the vote," Falk said, "and the final Resolution was gutted of many of the tougher provisions including a travel ban."
"As finally passed by the Security Council, the Resolution demands that Iran end its programs of uranium enrichment, reprocessing and on heavy water reactors, but Iran's angry reaction means that the U.N. Security Council is likely to be back with tougher sanctions within short order."
During the call Saturday, the two presidents agreed on the need to move forward with a resolution, according to a spokesman for Mr. Bush.
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.
The final resolution passed 15-0.
Russia and China, which both have strong commercial ties to Tehran, had pressed for a step-by-step approach to sanctions.
By contrast, the United States pushed for very tough sanctions, with Britain and France taking a slightly softer view.
The resolution authorizes action under Article 41 of Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter.
It allows the Security Council to impose non-military 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.
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 — Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the United States — 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.
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 on Tuesday that possible Security Council sanctions would not 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.

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