U.N. Imposes New Sanctions on Iran

( The Washington Post ) - The United Nations imposed new sanctions on Iran Monday, capping a year of difficult diplomacy that may represent the Bush administration's final bid to mobilize international action against Tehran over its controversial nuclear program.

Just five months after President Bush warned that Iran's alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons could lead to "World War III," the White House had to settle for a watered-down U.N. resolution that makes most trade and financial sanctions voluntary. The Security Council voted 14-0 to sanction Iran for refusing to stop its uranium enrichment program, falling one short of the unanimous vote the White House sought to signal the international community's resolve.

U.S. diplomacy was undercut by China's growing oil trade with Iran, Russia's ties to Tehran's nuclear energy program and skepticism among four developing countries on the council about the need for yet another U.N. resolution. But Washington's own National Intelligence Estimate in December - which concluded with "high confidence" that Iran had shelved its nuclear weapons program in 2003 - did more than anything else to undermine the prospects for a hard-hitting resolution, according to current and former U.S. officials.

In early December, the administration worried that its diplomatic initiative on Iran might die completely.

Although he had been briefed on the NIE's conclusions, Undersecretary of State R. Nicholas Burns was sworn to secrecy before meeting his counterparts from Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany in Paris on Saturday, Dec. 1, to discuss strategy on Iran, U.S. officials said. Ending months of debate, the world's six major powers agreed on the outline of a resolution, though differences remained on specifics.

Then on Monday, Dec. 3, the U.S. intelligence community released the NIE, undermining Washington's long-standing claim that Tehran was pursuing a nuclear weapons program.

"The NIE put a stake through the heart of diplomacy on Iran," said Bruce Riedel, a former senior CIA and national security official now at the Brookings Institution's Saban Center. "It pulled the rug out from under them in every way. The administration now can't go to war and can't even apply much pressure."

In a scramble to keep allies on board, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley called their counterparts in Moscow, Beijing, Paris, London and Berlin to explain why they should not abandon a new resolution, U.S. officials said. The NIE, they argued, was about Iran's past efforts to develop a nuclear weapon, whereas the new resolution would focus on uranium enrichment, a separate and ongoing process that can be used for peaceful energy and to develop a weapon, and an effort Tehran acknowledged hiding for 18 years.

"There was a real concern at the beginning about whether we'd lose the consensus for a sanctions resolution and whether we would be able to hold the coalition together," acknowledged a senior administration official familiar with the diplomacy. "We didn't get into substance. We just wanted to find out: Will they stay with us or not?"

Burns, who had flown from Paris to Australia, was left to get the answers from allies. From Canberra, he got through quickly to the Europeans. "They were all surprised by the NIE," said the official, although in the end they agreed to pursue the U.N. route.

But it took two days for the Russians and Chinese to return Burns' calls. He was about to leave Australia when the Russians called to say they were willing to continue discussions. Just minutes before boarding a plane for the 18-hour flight home, Burns received a call from Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister He Yafei, who said his country would not abandon the effort.

Then came the hard part of nailing down the details. Iran had already refused to cooperate with two earlier resolutions, passed in December 2006 and March 2007, and the administration had hoped that the long-sought third resolution would be so tough that it would finally persuade Tehran to give up enrichment and negotiate with the United States and Europeans on Iranian concerns.

But when the six major powers met again in Berlin on Jan. 22, Washington had to back down further to win consensus. Gone were measures against Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps and its elite Quds Force. So were provisions sanctioning two of the nation's biggest banks.

Washington had salvaged the diplomatic initiative, though at a cost. The toughest measures in Monday's resolution include a travel ban on five officials linked to nuclear proliferation and a mandate on countries to "exercise vigilance" about new export credits and transactions with Bank Melli and Bank Saderat.

The new resolution expanded the list of banned dual-use items that can be subverted for weapons development. It also urged countries to inspect cargo on aircraft and ships traveling to and from Iran if they are suspected of transporting goods prohibited by the United Nations. But it offers no enforcement mechanisms for any of the measures.

The Bush administration heralded the 14-0 vote, with only Indonesia abstaining, after French President Nicolas Sarkozy won support from South Africa and Libya.

"The international community has spoken with one voice again today. Iran has a choice to make: It can reap the benefits of cooperation with the rest of the world or it can continue to isolate itself and suffer the consequences of the additional sanctions imposed by the United Nations," said Gordon Johndroe, National Security Council spokesman.

Iran responded defiantly, with U.N. Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee charging that the Security Council has become "a mere tool of the national foreign policy of just a few countries."

" Iran cannot and will not accept a requirement which is legally defective and politically coercive," he said. "History tells us that no amount of pressure, intimidation and threat will be able to coerce our nation to give up its basic and legal rights." The council's action violated Iran's legal right, enshrined in the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty, to produce nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes, Khazaee said.

Iran now has 90 days to suspend enrichment, 30 days longer than in the previous resolutions. But former officials involved in Iran diplomacy said that Resolution 1803 is probably the last one the Bush administration will be able to orchestrate.

"We've come to the end of the line on new initiatives that will move the Iranians significantly," said Suzanne Maloney, a former State Department expert on Iran. The Bush administration has "run out of time."

The administration is counting on the European Union to impose its own sanctions on Iran, U.S. officials said. But European officials counter that the weakening of the U.N. resolution will affect the scope of their actions, because many European countries do business with Iran.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Iran updates COVID-19 protocols for international travelers
Iran updates COVID-19 protocols for international travelers
Turkey sees increase in number of Azerbaijani citizens visiting country
Turkey sees increase in number of Azerbaijani citizens visiting country
Azerbaijan's tourism agency prepares project for tourism dev’t in Karabakh
Azerbaijan's tourism agency prepares project for tourism dev’t in Karabakh
Loading Bars
US announces travel restrictions over new COVID-19 variant
At least 19 dead, 32 injured after bus crash in Mexico
US company Moderna begins work on vaccine against new SARS-CoV-2 variant ‘Omicron’
Dozens of COVID-19 cases on flight from South Africa, Dutch authorities say
Top Iran diplomat calls for lifting of sanctions, days before Vienna nuclear talks
U.S. President Biden calls for intellectual property protection waivers on COVID-19 vaccines
WTO postpones major meeting over COVID-19 concerns - sources
487 illegal immigrants rescued off Tunisian coast: ministry
WHO names new COVID variant Omicron
Sochi meeting is tremendous step in right direction; Armenia must act quickly in order to intercept its abandoned priorities - experts
Turkey to support Qatar's regional and international goals: Shentop
Kazakh President holds talks with President of European Commission
Statement by President of Azerbaijan, PM of Armenia and President of Russia published
Georgia carries out judicial reform with support of U.S., MP Okhanashvili says
Iranian, Malaysian FMs discuss bilateral ties
Foreign Ministry comments on trilateral meeting of leaders of Azerbaijan, Russia and Armenia
Putin discusses results of meeting with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan with Security Council
Vladimir Putin announces agreement on unblocking transport corridors between Azerbaijan and Armenia
Commission for delimitation of border between Azerbaijan and Armenia to be created
We numerously publicly stated that we are ready to start delimitation process - President Ilham Aliyev
After military hostilities ended, over 100 Armenian servicemen were returned to Armenian side - President Ilham Aliyev
Trilateral working group of Azerbaijan, Russia and Armenia to hold meeting next week in Moscow - Putin
President Ilham Aliyev ends his working visit to Sochi
Agreement reached on creation of mechanisms for demarcation and delimitation of border between Azerbaijan and Armenia before year end - Putin
Decisions taken at trilateral meeting in Sochi to contribute to safer and more predictable situation in South Caucasus - President Aliyev
Baku holds award ceremony of winners of second day of 28th FIG Trampoline Gymnastics World Age Group Competitions (PHOTO)
Kazakhstan records growth in remittances to Azerbaijan since early 2021
Russian gymnasts grab gold in synchronized trampoline at 28th FIG World Age Group Competitions in Baku
Russian President, Azerbaijani President and Armenian Prime Minister make press statements (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Price indexes of financial, trade sectors at Uzbek stock exchange rise
US gymnasts rank first in synchronized trampoline among men at 28th FIG Trampoline Gymnastics World Age Group Competitions in Baku
Azerbaijan approves boundaries of protected zone of State Reserve of Shusha city
Russian gymnasts grab gold, silver, bronze in double mini-trampoline among men at 28th FIG World Age Group Competitions in Baku
Russian-Turkish ceasefire monitoring center working hard - President Putin
French gymnast grabs gold in tumbling among women at 28th FIG World Age Group Competitions in Baku
Best moments of second day of 28th FIG Trampoline Gymnastics World Age Group Competitions in Baku (PHOTO)
Uzbekistan building power unit complex for nuclear plant in Jizzakh region
Body of another Armenian serviceman found on Azerbaijan's liberated lands
Russian gymnast grabs gold in tumbling among men at 28th FIG Trampoline Gymnastics World Age Group Competitions in Baku
Footage of warm meeting between Azerbaijani, Russian presidents in Sochi (VIDEO)
Portuguese gymnast ranks first in individual trampoline at 28th FIG Trampoline Gymnastics World Age Group Competitions in Baku (PHOTO)
Russian gymnast ranks first in double mini-trampoline at 28th FIG World Age Group Competitions in Baku
Georgia, Serbia working to strike a free trade agreement
Excellent conditions created for Azerbaijani students in Russia - President Ilham Aliyev
Cargo transportation volume between Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan revealed
Volume of freight traffic between Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan for 10M2021 revealed
Russian gymnast grabs gold in individual trampoline at 28th FIG World Age Group Competitions in Baku
Turkey reveals volume of vehicle shipments between its Mersin, Italian Trieste ports
We characterize our relations with Russia as those of strategic partners - President Ilham Aliyev
Conditions being created for future normal life in region – Russian president
Finalists in synchronized trampoline jumping among women announced at 28th FIG World Age Group Competitions in Baku
Azerbaijan was maximally constructive on eliminating consequences of Karabakh war, unblocking communications - President Aliyev
Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan sign investment and commercial contracts
Georgia shares its top wine export destinations
Turkey reveals volume of cargo shipment via its ports from Ukraine for 9M2021
Nar upholds positive dynamics in telecom market
Finalists in double mini-trampoline among men unveiled at 28th FIG World Age Group Competitions in Baku
Russian president to hold operational meeting with permanent members of Russia's Security Council
Azerbaijan's non-oil export reached highest level since early 2021 - deputy minister
Finalists in tumbling among women unveiled at 28th FIG World Age Group Competitions in Baku
Kadimastem seeks Nasdaq listing, raises $3.2m from ILEX
Trilateral meeting between Azerbaijani, Russian presidents, Armenian PM held in Sochi (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Azerbaijan increases its revenues from gas supplies via pipelines in 9M2021
Azerbaijani gymnasts reach finals of 28th FIG World Age Group Competitions in synchronized trampoline
Georgia’s exports of copper ores decrease
Putin, Indian PM to discuss privileged strategic partnership on Dec 6 — Kremlin
Azerbaijan reveals current state of road projects implemented in Karabakh, East Zangazur (VIDEO)
Georgia shares data on import, export price indices
Turkey's cargo, passenger traffic at Ankara Esenboga Airport grows in 10M2021
Volume of trade between Azerbaijan and Russia increased - Russian president
Turkey's cargo traffic via Karasu port for 9M2021 disclosed
Finalists in individual trampoline among men and women unveiled at 28th FIG World Age Group Competitions in Baku
Leading Uzbek banks in terms of volume of assets unveiled
Since beginning of operation of Russian peacekeeping forces on 10 November last year, there have been no major incidents in area of responsibility of Russian peacekeepers - President Ilham Aliyev
SOCAR Petroleum commissions gas station in Azerbaijan's Gubadli district
Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan reveals loans issued to individuals, legal entities for 10M2021
Russia hopes to outline promising directions to normalize relations between Baku and Yerevan in Sochi - MFA
Passenger cars manufacturing on rise in Kazakhstan
US embassy in Azerbaijan donates trees in honor of local staff
Georgia, Qatar plan to expand economic ties
Plastic cards usage increases in Kazakhstan
IMF forecasts Azerbaijan’s nominal GDP till 2025
VISA reveals main directions of work in Azerbaijan (Exclusive)
Bilateral meeting held between President Ilham Aliyev, President Vladimir Putin (PHOTO/VIDEO)
WHO meeting on Friday to designate new variant B.1.1.529
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 1,997 more COVID-19 cases, 2,319 recoveries
Azerbaijani Nakhchivan's revenues from communication services up for 10M2021
Israeli PM warns of state of emergency due to new coronavirus variant
Fixed capital investments in Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan slightly increase in 10M2021
Finalists in double mini-trampoline among women unveiled at 28th FIG World Age Group Competitions in Baku
US gymnast talks about training for 28th FIG World Age Group Competitions in Baku
Georgia to fine enterprises for environmental damage
28th FIG Trampoline Gymnastics World Age Group Competitions underway in Baku (PHOTO)
Central Bank of Azerbaijan discloses foreign currency auction results
GDP of Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan grows in 10M2021
Georgia’s car imports increase
Baku creates excellent conditions at 28th FIG World Age Group Competitions – Ukrainian gymnast
Turkey shares data on vehicle shipments between its Samsun, Russian Novorossiysk ports
SOCAR discloses volume of oil products’ transshipment from Kulevi terminal
All news