Iran says nuclear programme is "peaceful"

( dpa )- The UN Security Council began Monday its scheduled debate on Iran's nuclear activities, with an Iranian official declaring that the works are peaceful as confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Before it began the public debate, the 15-nation council had spent two hours behind closed doord to try to convince at least two of its members - Indonesia and Libya - to support the draft resolution to expand sanctions against Iran.

Indonesia and Libya reportedly wanted to abstain in the vote.

Iranian Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee, who was allowed to address the council as the first speaker, called the draft illegal.

" Iran's nuclear programme is absolutely peaceful and Iran should not fall under the preview of the council's mandate for peace and security around the world," Khazaee said. He said the IAEA had confirmed the purpose of Iran's nuclear activities.

The draft resolution before the council was completed last week, containing additional sanctions that were decided by the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain - the council's five permanent members - and Germany.

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.

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.

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