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Asia-pacific

Iran's Ahmadinejad dismisses new UN sanctions

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-06-10

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has dismissed new sanctions approved by the UN Security Council Wednesday, saying “they deserved to be thrown in the dust bin”. The fourth round of sanctions follows months of intense negotiations.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has condemned a new round of sanctions approved by the UN Security Council Wednesday, saying the “resolutions were not worth a dime and deserved to be thrown in the dust bin.”

Earlier, the Security Council had voted to strengthen 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, who voted against, and Lebanon who abstained. The decision to go forward with a fourth round of sanctions follows months of intense negotiations.

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.

Ahmadinejad’s foreign affairs minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, struck a more measured tone in an interwiew with FRANCE 24, noting that Iran “will definitely consider what [the UN Security Council members] have done today”. Still he expressed his disagreement with the decision: “For some questions, they are moving forward with sanctions – it is unacceptable”, he said.

Meanwhile, Iran awoke Thursday to newspaper headlines unanimously denouncing the new sanctions, with even reformist publications insisting that the measures would chalk a new path of confrontation.

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 : 2010-06-10

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