More sanctions on Iran under discussion at UN

More sanctions on Iran under discussion at UN

( dpa ) - UN Security Council members have begun discussing elements that will form a new draft resolution to strengthen current sanctions against Iran for defying calls to abandon its nuclear ambitions, diplomats said Monday.

The council's five permanent members and Germany have been discussing the elements, which include travel bans and restrictions, asset freezes, export credit, financial monitoring, cargo inspections and a new deadline for Iran to comply.

The foreign ministers of those six countries devised the plan when they met in Berlin last week and sent it to the 15-nation council in New York.

The United States, Russia, France, Britain and China - the veto powers on the council - met last week and then with the council's 10 elected members to discuss the elements. On Monday, there was no formal session of the council, but diplomats said the members met separately.

The council has already imposed an embargo on Iran's exports of arms and related material, while ordering UN members not to sell or transfer to Iran battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, warships, missiles or missile systems and attack helicopters.

The council had ordered a travel ban on a number of Iranian officials, particularly those involved in nuclear and ballistic missiles activities. It also singled out at least 10 companies involved in missiles activities, and banks, some members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and individuals that support those activities as targets of the embargo.

The new elements call for "vigilance and restraint" regarding the entry or transit of Iranians who are directly associated with or providing support for Iran's "proliferation of sensitive nuclear activities or for the development of nuclear weapon delivery system."

A freeze of assets in the future would be expanded to "persons and entities" that are assisting "designated persons or entities in evading sanctions or in violation" of previous sanctions.

UN members will be called to prevent the supply or sale of material considered dual use in nuclear technology. They will be called not to provide export credits, guarantees or insurance to their nationals, if those credits and guarantees would financially contribute to the proliferation of sensitive nuclear activities and the delivery of nuclear weapons delivery systems.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters in Washington that the new resolution would "deepen" sanctions on Iran and could allow for the inspection of cargo into the country.

"It is a resolution that shows and will show Iran that it continues to be isolated from the international community, that it has no friends when it comes to its desires to pursue technologies that could lead to a nuclear weapon," Rice said.

UN members will also be called to be vigilant over financial activities in their territories of Iran's banks, like the Bank Melli and Bank Saderat, in order to prevent activities that would contribute to Iran's nuclear weapon delivery systems.

The new draft would request the UN's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to report within 90 days from the resolution's adoption, whether Iran has fully suspended all nuclear activities.

Resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council in 2006 and 2007 also gave Iran deadlines to comply with demands for "full and sustained suspension" of all nuclear activities and threatened new sanctions in case of non-compliance. But those deadlines expired without Iran's compliance.

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