The Security Council voted today to impose a fourth round of United Nations sanctions against Iran, while demanding that the country suspend its enrichment activities and peacefully resolve outstanding concerns over the nature of its nuclear programme.
The text which received the support of 12 Council members – Brazil and Turkey voted against and Lebanon abstained – cited the proliferation risks posed by Iran’s nuclear programme and its continued failure to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has consistently stressed the importance for Iran to fully comply with all relevant Council resolutions and to cooperate fully with the IAEA to resolve all outstanding issues.
“These are the essential steps to restore the international community’s confidence in the exclusively peaceful purpose of Iran’s nuclear programme,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement issued after the vote, adding that the Secretary-General continues to support a “comprehensive and negotiated” political solution to this issue.
Iran’s nuclear programme, which its officials have stated is for peaceful purposes, but some other countries contend is driven by military ambitions, has been a matter of international concern since the discovery in 2003 that the country had concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
The Council has imposed several rounds of sanctions on Iran since 2006, including a ban on all items which could contribute to the country’s enrichment of uranium, a necessary step for both peaceful and militaristic uses of nuclear energy, and arms sales and a freeze on assets.
Last October, a draft agreement on fuel for a civilian nuclear research site in Tehran was put forward in which Iranian low-enriched uranium would be shipped for further enrichment to Russia and then to France to be fabricated into fuel, but Iran has yet to approve the deal.
The latest text – resolution 1929 – builds on previous sanctions by deciding that Iran shall not acquire an interest in any commercial activity in another State involving uranium mining, production or use of nuclear materials and technology.
The Council also decided that all States shall prevent the supply, sale or transfer to Iran of battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, large calibre artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles or missile systems. It also asks States to take all necessary measures to prevent the transfer to Iran of technology or technical assistance related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
In addition, the resolution contains provisions to help block Iran’s use of the international financial system, particularly its banks when they may be used to fund proliferation and nuclear activities.
Among other elements, the resolution also alerts States to the potential link between Iran’s energy sector revenues and energy-related technologies and proliferation, and establishes a UN panel of experts to help monitor and enforce sanctions implementation.
Last month Mr. Ban said the initiative by Brazil and Turkey regarding nuclear fuel for an Iranian reactor could be a positive step, and underscored the need for bolstered transparency to help resolve concerns over Tehran’s nuclear programme.
He has also personally urged Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to restore international trust in the peaceful nature of his country’s nuclear programme by adhering to the resolutions of the Security Council and the IAEA.
In a related development, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano today informed the Agency’s Board of Governors that he had received letters from France, Russia and the United States concerning the provision of nuclear fuel for the Tehran research reactor.
The letters were in response to Iran’s 24 May letter officially agreeing to the Joint Declaration signed in Tehran last month by Iran, Brazil and Turkey. Mr. Amano said that he will continue to use his good offices to follow up on this new development with the concerned governments.