New sanctions for Iran

4 March 2008

The United Nations Security Council has approved a new round of sanctions against Iran for refusing to stop uranium enrichment and heavy-water-related work.

The halting of these activities was required in resolutions passed in 2006 and 2007.

The sanctions, which include asset freezes, were also imposed because Iran disagreed with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA’s) right to verify design information.

The new resolution was adopted by a vote of 14 in favour, none against, and an abstention from Indonesia.

The Security Council called on all states to exercise “vigilance and restraint” when people supporting Iran’s proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities, or development of nuclear weapon delivery systems, passed through their countries. It was decided that these individuals’ journeys should be notified to the Security Council.

The council further extended freezing of financial assets of people or organisations supporting Iran’s proliferation-sensitive activities.

It also called on all countries to watch the activities of their financial institutions with all Iranian banks, in particular with Bank Melli and Bank Saderat.

The council continued the blocking of import and export of sensitive nuclear material and equipment, except items with advance notice meant exclusively for use in LWRs.

States were also called upon to inspect cargo to and from Iran in aircraft and vessels owned or operated by Iran Air Cargo and Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line, provided “reasonable grounds” existed to believe that the aircraft or vessel was transporting prohibited goods.

At the outset of the Security Council meeting, Iran’s representative said: “Today’s action of some members of the Security Council against Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme, along with the measures taken in this regard in the past, do not meet the minimum standards of legitimacy and legality.”

By resolving the outstanding issues of Iran’s past activities on the one hand, and conducting all its present activities, including enrichment, under the full and continuous monitoring of the IAEA, the country had removed any so-called “concerns” or “ambiguities” with regard to its peaceful nuclear activities in the past and at present, he said.

The Security Council’s behaviour in undermining the credibility and integrity of the IAEA would only serve the interests of those who preferred to ignore IAEA, such as the Israeli regime, which, with hundreds of nuclear warheads in its possession, posed the most serious threat to international and regional peace and security, according to the Iranian representative.

He said the future security of the world depended on how the United Nations, and especially the Security Council, functioned in a just and impartial manner. In reality, peoples across the globe had now lost their trust in the Security Council and considered its actions the result of political pressure exerted by a few powers to advance their own agendas.

Indonesia’s representative explained his abstention by saying: “Essentially, we are not convinced whether more sanctions, however incremental, well-targeted and reversible, would move us forward in resolving the question of Iran’s nuclear programme.”

The UK representative read a statement agreed by the foreign ministers of China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and USA, with support of the European Union, saying that today’s Security Council action reflected the international community’s ongoing serious concerns about the proliferation risks of the Iranian nuclear programme.


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