World and Nation

UN Security Council Will Vote On New Draft of Iran Sanctions

The U.N. Security Council received on Thursday a draft of a new resolution to impose sanctions on Iran for its defiance of demands that it suspend its nuclear enrichment activities and return to negotiations over its nuclear program.

The measure expands an earlier resolution specifying a roster of companies and individuals subject to a freeze of assets. Among them are Bank Sepah, four groups controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, an elite military force, and seven commanders identified as "key persons" in the corps.

The draft also says that Iran is prohibited from exporting any arms or material related to its weapons programs and that other countries should make sure that none of their citizens transport or purchase any such material from Iran.

Alejandro D. Wolff, the acting U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the draft was "a good, balanced, incremental step," while Emyr Jones Parry, the British ambassador, said it was a "ratcheting up" of restrictions in the last resolution on Iran.

That measure, adopted Dec. 23, called for Iran to cease nuclear activities within 60 days or face further action. Iran not only ignored the Feb. 21 deadline but also announced that it was accelerating its enrichment schedule.

The new document was the result of weeks of negotiations among Germany and the five permanent members of the Security Council, Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, and was agreed to overnight after last-minute reviews in the six capitals.

It will now be discussed by the 10 other members of the Security Council, effectively postponing a vote until late next week.

The United States and the European countries involved in drafting the resolution wanted tougher steps but had to factor in objections from China and Russia, which maintain close commercial ties with Tehran and protested any terms that could harm the Iranian economy or public.

Instead of the broad ban on imports of weapons that the Americans wanted, the final draft calls on countries to "exercise vigilance and restraint" in supplying Iran with heavy weapons including tanks, combat aircraft and artillery systems, or with any training or technical assistance connected to such weapons.

Also dropped from the proposal was a ban on international travel by Iranian officials engaged in nuclear activities. It was replaced by a call on nations to notify the Security Council if any of the named people passed through their territory.

The text calls on countries and financial institutions to curb all grants, financial aid and loans to Iran except those "for humanitarian and developmental purposes."

The draft gives Iran another 60 days to comply or face additional penalties, which the text specifies would be nonmilitary.

In keeping with the drafters' repeatedly stated wish to persuade Iran to return to negotiations, however, it emphasizes that all measures will be suspended if Tehran halts enrichment activities.