” A resolution that would impose new sanctions on Iran and its powerful Revolutionary Guard over its suspect nuclear programme is ready for a vote by the U.N. Security Council.
No date has been set for a vote, but Mexico’s U.N. Ambassador Claude Heller, the current council president, said on Monday that members have decided “to have a vote this week.”
Brazil and Turkey are pressing for an open “political debate” on the broader Iranian nuclear issue first. Both non—permanent council members recently announced a fuel—swap agreement with Iran aimed at addressing concerns that it may be enriching uranium for nuclear weapons.
After a Security Council meeting behind closed doors late Monday afternoon, which did not resolve the issue, Mr. Heller said members would hold closed consultations on Iran again on Tuesday morning.
Brazil’s U.N. Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti said her country and Turkey “don’t want to be obstructionist,” but they do want an open meeting and will “wait and see” if the rest of the council agrees.
Brazil seeks political debate
So far, “there has been only a technical debate on the resolution and we think that this issue is a broader issue that has political implications, so we want to have a political debate,” Ms. Ribeiro Viotti explained. “We don’t want to discuss the resolution. We want to discuss the issue in a broader context.”
The final version of the resolution, obtained by The Associated Press, would ban Iran from pursuing “any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons,” bar Iranian investment in activities such as uranium mining, and prohibit Iran from buying several categories of heavy weapons including attack helicopters and missiles.
It did not include a list of new individuals and entities” including from Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard” that would be subject to sanctions, including an asset freeze. A council diplomat familiar with the negotiations said that the list, which was agreed to by the five veto—wielding permanent members, had been circulated to the 10 non—permanent members and was being kept open.
Nuke programme purely peaceful, says Iran
Iran insists its nuclear programme is purely peaceful, aimed at producing nuclear energy, but the United States and its Western allies believe Tehran’s real goal is to produce atomic weapons.
After weeks of closed—door negotiations, the U.S., Britain and France won crucial support from Russia and China for new sanctions, but they have faced a tough campaign to get backing from the rest of the 15—member Security Council.
When the original draft resolution was circulated on October 18” shortly after the Turkey—Brazil—Iran deal was announced” diplomats said Brazil refused to negotiate, and it has expressed opposition to new sanctions along with Turkey and Lebanon.
The latest draft, circulated “in blue” text signalling it is in final form, adds language noting Turkey and Brazil’s efforts “that could serve as a confidence building measure.”
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said on Sunday she thinks Iran will “pull some stunt” in the next few days because it expects further sanctions.
“Russia, China oppose bid to speed up the ballot”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in Beijing on Friday that “Russia and China oppose attempts to speed up the ballot” and want to ensure that the non—permanent members have enough time to make suggestions, according to the Russian news agency Itar—Tass.
Asked on Monday about a vote in the next two or three days, Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said “maybe.”
Mr. Lavrov was quoted as saying the draft resolution excludes sanctions that could paralyze Iran and instead “concentrates on non-proliferation goals and ensures economic interests of Russia and China to the maximum degree.”
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi added that sanctions “must not become a punishment for Iran and the Iranian people” but should strengthen efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and promote Mideast peace, according to Irar—Tass.
The resolution, if adopted, would impose the fourth round of sanctions against Iran for refusing to suspend its enrichment program and join talks with the five permanent council nations and Germany. The six countries have been trying for several years to get Tehran into serious negotiations about its nuclear programme.
The final draft also calls on all countries to cooperate in cargo inspections” which must receive the consent of the ship’s flag state” if there are “reasonable grounds” to believe these activities could contribute to Iranian nuclear activities.
On the financial side, the draft calls on” but does not require” countries to block financial transactions, including insurance and reinsurance, and ban the licensing of Iranian banks if they have information that provides “reasonable grounds” to believe these activities could contribute to Iranian nuclear activities.
The final draft adds language “emphasizing the importance of political and diplomatic efforts to find a negotiated solution guaranteeing that Iran’s nuclear programme is purely for peaceful purposes,” but also emphasizes “the importance of Iran addressing the core issues related to its nuclear programme.”