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UN Security Council to vote on new Iran sanctions
Key UN Security Council members have reached consensus on a list of new Iranian companies and individuals to be targeted under a fresh round of sanctions against Iran, paving the way for a vote on the draft resolution on Wednesday.
AFP - The UN Security Council will vote Wednesday on a fourth round of UN sanctions against Iran over its refusal to come clean on its suspect nuclear program, its president said here Tuesday.
Mexican Ambassador Claude Heller, who chairs the 15-member council this month, made the announcement to reporters after emerging from a closed-door session at which members also decided to hold a private session later Tuesday.
"The co-sponsors have announced that the resolution will be (put) to a vote tomorrow morning at 10:00 am (1400 GMT)," Heller said.
From Istanbul, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad however warned Tuesday that talks with six major powers on his country's suspect nuclear program would be broken off if new sanctions were imposed.
The council's 15 members were huddling behind closed doors for the second day running to consider a request by Brazil and Turkey to have an open debate on the nuclear standoff with Iran prior to the vote.
The decision to have a private session later Tuesday appears to be a concession to Brazil and Turkey which have sought a public debate to make their case that fresh sanctions would be counterproductive and that a fuel swap deal they brokered with Tehran should instead be used as an opportunity for further diplomacy.
Last month, the two countries brokered a deal under which Iran agreed to ship 1,200 kilograms (2,640 pounds) of its low-enriched uranium (LEU) to Turkey in return for high-enriched uranium fuel for the Tehran reactor that would be supplied later by Russia and France.
But the accord drew a cool reaction from the six world powers which have been trying to clip Iran's nuclear ambitions and which are co-sponsoring the sanctions draft.
The six -- the five council permanent members: Britain, France, China, Russia and the United States along with Germany -- insist they have the nine votes necessary to secure adoption.
The US-drafted text would broaden sanctions slapped on the Islamic Republic in three previous resolutions, the last one adopted on March 3, 2008.
It would expand an arms embargo and measures against Iran's banking sector and ban it from sensitive overseas activities like uranium mining and developing ballistic missiles, diplomats said.
It would authorize states to conduct high-sea inspections of vessels believed to be ferrying banned items from or to Iran.
In a nod to Brazil and Turkey, the text does note the efforts of the two countries "toward an agreement with Iran on the Tehran Research Reactor that could serve as a confidence-building measure."
Annexes to the text add expand a list of individuals and entities subject to travel restrictions and financial sanctions.
Added to the list was Javad Rahiqi, head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran's Isfahan nuclear technology center, and 40 entities.
"I have said that the US government and its allies are mistaken if they think they can brandish the stick of resolution and then sit down to talk with us, such a thing will not happen," Ahmadinejad said from Istanbul where he was attending an Asian security grouping.
Ahmadinejad urged Western powers not to dismiss the Turkish-Brazilian nuclear fuel swap which he described as an opportunity that should be "put to good use". "Opportunities will not be repeated," he warned.
Western powers fear that Iran's atomic program masks a bid to build nuclear weapons. Tehran denies this, saying the program is aimed at peaceful energy generation, which it insists it has the right to pursue.