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UN Security Council approves tougher sanctions on Iran

Video by Yuka ROYER

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-06-10

The UN Security Council has voted in favour of tougher sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed the new sanctions regime, saying it was "not worth a dime".


The UN Security Council voted Wednesday on a fourth round of sanctions targeting Tehran. After months of intense negotiations, the UN strengthened its regime of military and financial sanctions to counter the Islamic Republic’s continued defiance over its nuclear programme.
All council members voted in favour of the broadened sanctions with the exception of Brazil and Turkey, and Lebanon who abstained.
Turkey and Brazil brokered a nuclear agreement with Tehran in May, but it was largely dismissed by the US and world powers. Brazil's UN Ambassador, Maria Luiza Viotti, said ahead of the vote, "We do not see sanctions as an effective instrument in this case."
Tehran maintains that its uranium enrichment programme is for peaceful civilian purposes.
Furthermore, minutes after the vote, the Iranian envoy to the UN atomic watchdog said the result would not change his country’s enrichment activities.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad condemned the sanctions, saying the “resolutions were not worth a dime and deserved to be thrown in the dust bin.”
Strengthening of existing sanctions
The current partial ban on arms sales to Iran will be expanded under the new UN resolution. Eight new categories of heavy weapons, including tanks, attack helicopters and heavy-calibre artillery systems, will no longer be permitted to be sold to the country.
Lighter weapons can still be sold to Iran by other states, but the Security Council urged vendors to do so with “vigilance” and “restraint”.
In relation to maritime activity, the sanctions would authorise countries to inspect cargo ships that are in their own territorial waters and are heading to or from Iran.The UN calls upon all states to inspect suspicious ships, but these controls are neither systematic nor mandatory.
The sanctions regime also extends penalties to some 40 Iranian individuals and entities that are part of the government or linked to its nuclear activities. For example, the head of the Nuclear Technology Centre of Isfahan will now join the list of Iranians who have their international assets frozen and are forbidden to travel abroad.
Significant concessions from the West
The absence of completely new or comprehensive sanctions reflects continuing disagreements at the heart of the Security Council, and is the result of significant concessions by the West.
Always cautious of sanctions deemed too restrictive, China and Russia once more succeeded in watering down the penalties.
Even so, the USA has welcomed their support for the new more comprehensive sanctions. During a diplomatic visit to Ecuador, the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was pleased and confident these would be "the most significant sanctions that Iran has ever faced".


Date created : 2010-06-09

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