Iran sanctions to be decided by UN council Monday

Iran sanctions to be decided by UN council Monday

( dpa ) - The UN Security Council plans to meet Monday to possibly take a decision on a draft resolution for additional sanctions against Iran, diplomats said Friday.

The diplomats said the council's five permanent members with veto power - the US, France, Britain, China and Russia - have given support for the draft, making a vote possible on Monday to order the additional sanctions against Iran for defying repeated calls to abandon its nuclear programme.

The US, France and Britain, the main co-sponsors of the draft, had wanted a vote on the draft this weekend, but relented following a closed-door meeting to allow more time for other council members to study it.

Two previous resolutions have failed to stop Iran from enriching uranium - a process whose byproduct produces weapons-grade material - even though sanctions were in place. Iran says its needs enriched uranium for its domestic power plants, and does not intend to build nuclear weapons.

Of the council's 15 members, Libya, Indonesia, Vietnam and South Africa were said earlier this week to abstain if the vote were put to a vote immediately. But diplomats said their positions may change next week, without specifying which direction they would go.

Russia, which has been assisting Iran to develop nuclear capability for civilian use, and China, which has significant economic investment in Iran's oil and gas, decided to support additional sanctions after the drafters of the resolution excluded the use of force to implement it.

The draft invokes Article 41 of Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which allows the UN council to seek economic sanctions without relying on the use of force to implement a resolution. Chapter 7 usually has been invoked to establish peacekeeping operations in situations that require use of military force.

The draft expands sanctions previously imposed on Iran, from travel bans, asset freezes, export credit and financial monitoring to cargo inspections and a new deadline for Iran to comply.

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

Currently Iran is under an embargo on exports of arms and related material, which ordered UN members not to sell or transfer to Iran battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, warships, missiles or missile systems and attack helicopters.

Some Iranian officials, particularly those involved in nuclear and ballistic missile activities, have been affected by a travel ban. The ban also singled out at least 10 companies involved in missile activities, banks, some members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and individuals who support those activities as targets of the embargo.

The draft's new sanctions 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 on 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.

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 draft's new sanctions were initially agreed upon by the five Security Council permanent members - the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia - and Germany, whose foreign ministers met in Berlin to join force in fighting Iran's determination to proceed with its uranium conversion.

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