Photo: AP
UN Security Council
Photo: AP

UN sanctions target Iran banks, arms

Security Council discusses six powers' new sanctions draft, which calls for punitive action against Tehran's banks, industries, as well as for international maritime inspection force. Brazil shuns session; Turkey says Council should refocus efforts

A UN Security Council draft resolution, seen by Reuters on Tuesday, calls for expanding punitive measures against Iran, its banking and other industries for refusing to halt sensitive nuclear activities.


The 10-page draft resolution, which was agreed by the United States, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia, also calls for the establishment of an international inspection regime for vessels suspected of containing cargo related to Iran's nuclear or missile programs.


The text, Western diplomats said, was the result of a series of compromises between the United States and its three European allies, which had pushed for much tougher sanctions against Tehran, and Russia and China, which sought to dilute them.


Brazil's UN ambassador made clear her country was unhappy that the United States and its allies appeared to ignore the deal that her country has described as a major breakthrough in the long-running nuclear standoff between Iran and the West.


"Brazil is not engaging in any discussion on a draft at this point because we feel that there is a new situation," Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti told reporters. "There was an agreement yesterday which is a very important one."


A Turkish diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, did not rule out discussions on the draft but said "our focus is on the other track." referring to the Tehran fuel swap deal.


'Timing of fuel swap deal not coincidental'

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a Senate committee earlier Tuesday that the powers would

send the resolution draft to all members of the council later that day, capping months of diplomatic maneuvering and painstaking negotiations.


Clinton's announcement came just one day after Iran, Brazil and Turkey said they had agreed on a plan for Iran to swap nuclear materials.


Many believed the last-minute agreement would blunt the US-led drive for a fourth round of UN penalties on Iran, but Clinton said the agreement on a new resolution by the major powers was a rejection of Iran's efforts to forestall penalties.


"This announcement is as convincing an answer to the efforts undertaken by Tehran over the last few days as any we could provide," Clinton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


"We don't believe it was any accident that Iran agreed to this declaration as we were preparing to move forward in New York," she said. "With all due respect to my Turkish and Brazilian friends, the fact that we had Russia on board, we had China on board and that we were moving early this week, namely today, to share the text of that resolution put pressure on Iran which they were trying to somehow dissipate."


'Iran's leap forward should be appreciated'

US and European officials had reacted skeptically to the Brazilian-Turkish-brokered proposal, warning it still allows Iran to keep enriching uranium toward the pursuit of a nuclear weapon. The deal was concluded during a visit to Tehran by Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva who has fought against a new round of sanctions.


Both Silva and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was also in Tehran for the announcement, have urged the international community to support the deal.


"Historically it has been shown that those imposing sanctions are usually the ones violating the sanctions," Erdogan told reporters on the sidelines of a European Union meeting in Madrid on Tuesday. "I think Iran has taken a leap forward. Now it's in a very positive situation which should be appreciated by the international players."


But Clinton repeated the US skepticism about the agreement, saying "there are a number of unanswered questions regarding the announcement coming from Tehran."


"While we acknowledge the sincere efforts of both Turkey and Brazil to find a solution regarding Iran's standoff with the international community over its nuclear program, we are proceeding to rally the international community on behalf of a strong sanctions resolution that will in our view send an unmistakable message about what is expected from Iran," Clinton said.


Yitzhak Benhorin, AP, and Reuters contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 05.18.10, 21:39
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