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.

Azerbaijan slows down imports of Turkish-made leather goods
Azerbaijan slows down imports of Turkish-made leather goods
Azerbaijan discloses volume of liabilities in banking sector
Azerbaijan discloses volume of liabilities in banking sector
Heydar Aliyev Center, Flame Towers and Baku Olympic Stadium illuminated with Azerbaijani flag (PHOTO)
Heydar Aliyev Center, Flame Towers and Baku Olympic Stadium illuminated with Azerbaijani flag (PHOTO)
Loading Bars
Latest
ADB allocates $2.5 mln to support Georgia amid pandemic
Italy's retail sales climb higher in October, pushed by demand for electronic equipment
4 regions in coronavirus red zone in Kazakhstan
Iran's UNESCO envoy urges condemnation of assassination of Iranian scientist
France's daily COVID-19 infections continue to fall
Embassy of Japan in Georgia reveals volume of trade turnover between two countries
Arab League welcomes Kuwait's efforts to "heal Arab rifts"
World Bank grants Morocco 400-mln-USD loan
Azerbaijan slows down imports of Turkish-made leather goods
Additional costs could add up to 2.8 billion dollars, Tokyo 2020 says
Trump to withdraw most troops from Somalia as part of global pullback
UK, EU call in leaders to save trade talks
Palestinian teen killed by Israeli forces in protest
Azerbaijan discloses volume of liabilities in banking sector
Heydar Aliyev Center, Flame Towers and Baku Olympic Stadium illuminated with Azerbaijani flag (PHOTO)
NY Times publishes article on the fate of Ciraqli village during Karabakh conflict
South Africa's second largest crude refinery shutdown after blast
1st China-bound freight train departs on 12-day journey from Istanbul
Chip shortages could slow automotive production, VW and suppliers say
Russia, India kick off joint naval drills in Indian Ocean
NCDC to study COVID-19 reinfection cases
Turkey reports over 32,736 new COVID-19 cases
Azerbaijan unveils funds value received by Armed Forces Relief Fund as of December 1
Kazakhstan, Russia agree on measure to restore ecosystem of transboundary rivers
Iran reveals its COVID-19 data for December 4
Kazakhstan's coal extracting venture to buy spares via tender
French activists protest against Amazon's expansion
Azerbaijani, Bulgarian FMs discuss bilateral cooperation
Azerbaijani public reveres memory of martyrs of Karabakh conflict (PHOTO)
Electricity Market Concept Design defines gradual retail market opening in Georgia
Import of rice by Azerbaijan up
Baku Metro opens tender to buy tire connections
French parliament loses ability to be serious partner – Turkish Grand National Assembly
Investments in Georgian Poti Free Industrial Zone diversified by regional countries
Iran's next years budget unlikely to improve economy - Head of Parliament Plan and Budget Commission
Azerbaijan raises value of imports from Lithuania in 10M2020
Big foreign IT companies entering Georgia's market
Azerbaijan's Compulsory Insurance Bureau compensating bankrupted insurer's creditors
Georgia sees increase in tangerines export
Azerbaijan shows video footage from Yanshag village of Kalbajar district (VIDEO)
EDB, KazakhExport to jointly insure exports of insulated cars from Kazakhstan
Georgian Chamber of Commerce working on several projects to help SMEs
Azerbaijan's irrigation company to finance power supply of crop areas
Turkmenistan builts new mosque in Afghanistan's Akina town (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani, Latvian FMs exchange views on current situation in region
International organizations aim to finance road construction and repair in Georgia
Georgia sees increase in imports of dairy products
Azerbaijan unveils 10M2020 railway export operations
EDB to fund investment projects in priority sectors of Kazakhstan Development Bank
Azerbaijani FM receives Belarusian ambassador amid completion of his diplomatic mission (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry delivers diplomatic note to French ambassador
Global debt to hit $200 trillion - S&P Global
Turkmengas opens tender for purchase of general equipment
Ankara honors memory of Azerbaijan's martyrs (PHOTO)
First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva: We will never forget Patriotic War martyrs (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan applies Lithuanian company's hotel management system project
“Ural Airlines” to take citizens of the Russian Federation out of Azerbaijan
Serbia to pay off loan received from Azerbaijan for road construction
Turkish export cargo to China to pass through Port of Baku
Uzbekistan Airways resumes flights to Kazakhstan’s Nur-Sultan
SOCAR Ukraine's aviation fuel imports for November
Surge in COVID-19 cases reported at Kazakhstan's Tengiz oil field
Turkish president supports Azerbaijani counterpart’s recommendation to France
SOCAR expands its activities in Ukraine
Iran – UK trade could improve by money transfer facilities
Turkey records more Uzbek companies in 10M2020
Budget of Georgia Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure to be highest
Rostelecom increases capacity of Uzbektelecom's access to Russian segment of Internet
Central Bank of Azerbaijan eyes to raise funds on Bloomberg trading platform
Azerbaijan was rooting for us – National gymnastics team member (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan ramps up goods exports via stationary transport
UAE’s activity on Turkmenistan’s exchange in November
Azerbaijan confirms 4,267 new COVID-19 cases, 2,566 recoveries
Kazakhstan Development Bank to co-op to promote EAEU integration
Karabakh to become ecotourism center of regional importance - Association of Hotels and Restaurants of Azerbaijan
Oil moves up towards $50/bbl after OPEC+ supply compromise
Number of COVID-19 infections in Russia increases by 27,403 in 24 hours
Turkish minister to get acquainted with construction progress of Kars logistics center
International law firms enter Georgian market
EU urges countries to keep COVID in check over festive season
Baku cathedral parishioners honor memory of martyrs of Azerbaijan's Patriotic War (PHOTO)
Bank of Israel intervenes in foreign exchange market
Turkey, Iran commemorating Azerbaijani martyrs of Patriotic War
Uzbekistan’s volume of media market up in 2021
Kazakhstan, Russia agree on steps to expand co-op in geology
Iran-Iraq Joint Trade Commission to be established soon
Karabakh can become leading IT Hub in South Caucasus, says Azerbaijani analyst
Kazakhstan to launch manufacturing of Russian anti-COVID vaccine before year-end
Ganja honors memory of martyrs of Azerbaijan's Patriotic War (PHOTO)
Substantial NATO-Georgia Package updated at meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs
Belonging of Nagorno-Karabakh region determined upon relevant UN Security Council’s resolutions - press secretary of Russian president
UNHCR reveals details of joint meeting with Turkmenistan to end statelessness
Kazakhstan ups trade with Turkey for 10M2020
EBRD reduces its equity stake in Georgian TBC Bank
TAP to hold market test to double capacity
Second Karabakh war - brightest page in national memory of Azerbaijan, says Russian cleric
Azerbaijan presents musical composition commemorating martyrs of Patriotic War (VIDEO)
Amnesty International unveils photo proof of Armenian-inflicted damage in liberated Kalbajar (PHOTO)
Iran to increase revenue by development of gas transmission
Energy Commission of Iranian Chamber of Commerce discusses oil revenue forecast
All news