The Security Council today imposed additional sanctions against Iran, including the inspection of cargo suspected of carrying prohibited goods, the tighter monitoring of financial institutions and the extension of travel bans and asset freezes, over its nuclear programme.
Fourteen Council members voted in favour of the resolution, which voiced concern at “the proliferation risks presented by the Iranian nuclear programme,” while Indonesia abstained. The resolution adds to Council sanctions imposed in 2006 and another round last year.
Under the resolution, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohamed ElBaradei has been asked to report within 90 days on whether Iran has fully suspended uranium enrichment activities, in line with a previous Council demand.
The Council’s five permanent members – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – and Germany (currently not a Council member) also said they were willing to develop “all-round relations and wider cooperation with Iran,” starting with direct talks and negotiations, if it was willing to suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities.
Member States are called on to inspect cargo entering or leaving Iran reasonably suspected of transporting goods prohibited as part of any one of the three Council resolutions on this issue, and then to report to the Council on the details of those inspections.
In addition, the resolution bans the trade and supply of “dual-use” items, materials and technologies that can be adapted for military as well as civilian purposes.
Travel bans have been imposed on an extra five Iranian officials and 12 Iranian companies face having their assets frozen, while all States are asked to step up their monitoring of financial institutions in their territories that have dealings with banks based in Iran, particularly Bank Melli and Bank Saderat.
If Iran does not comply with the resolution, and with the earlier two resolutions imposing sanctions, Council members reserved the right to take further steps to pressure Tehran to comply.
In a statement of behalf of China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK, the US and the European Union, British Ambassador John Sawers said the text reflected the international community’s ongoing serious concerns about the issue.
Mr. Sawers said the countries remained ready to undertake the necessary diplomatic and political efforts to reach a negotiated solution, and that a top EU official has been asked to meet with a senior Iranian official to address the concerns of both sides.
For his part, Indonesia’s Ambassador Marty M. Natalegawa told the Council meeting that Jakarta was not convinced that “more sanctions, however incremental, well targeted and reversible, would move us forward in resolving the question of Iran’s nuclear programme.”
Iran’s representative Mohammed Khazaee said that today’s resolution did not meet “the minimum standards of legitimacy and legality,” and emphasized that Iran’s nuclear programme was entirely peaceful and did not belong within the purview of the Council.
Meanwhile, Mr. ElBaradei told a meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors in Vienna that the agency has been “able to clarify important outstanding issues regarding the scope and nature of Iran’s declared enrichment programme.”
He said the “one outstanding issue that is relevant to Iran’s past activities is the so-called alleged studies involving possible weaponization activities,” which the IAEA became aware of in 2005.
Mr. ElBaradei said that after Iran was initially reluctant to fully discuss the issue, it has since agreed in a joint work plan to tackle it, while maintaining that the alleged studies either relate only to conventional weapons or are fabricated.
“However, a full-fledged examination of this issue has yet to take place,” he noted, stressing that the IAEA will follow due process in determining the authenticity of documents related to the alleged studies.
The Director General called on Iran to be as “active and cooperative as possible in working with the Agency to clarify this matter of serious concern.”