June 10, 2010 in Nation/World

Doubts linger about Iran sanctions’ effect

U.N. Security Council approves in 12-2 vote
Paul Richter Tribune Washington bureau
New Iran sanctions

The resolution approved Wednesday by the U.N. Security Council:

Reiterates demand that Iran suspend enrichment and comply with all requirements of the International Atomic Energy Agency including its additional protocol which allows unannounced inspections of nuclear facilities.

Calls on Iran to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty “at an early date.”

Bans Iran from any foreign investment in uranium mining, enrichment or reprocessing, production or use of nuclear materials and technology, heavy-water activities, and technology related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

Bans countries from selling eight categories of heavy weapons to Iran: battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile systems.

Bans Iran from any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launching such a missile.

Adds one individual and 40 companies and other organizations to a list of those subject to an asset freeze.

Calls on countries to cooperate in inspections – which must receive the consent of the ship’s flag state – if the vessel is suspected of carrying prohibited cargo.

Calls on countries to block financial transactions, including insurance and reinsurance, if there are “reasonable grounds” to believe these activities could contribute to Iranian nuclear activities.

Requests Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to establish a committee of experts to monitor implementation of all sanctions against Iran and calls for a first report 90 days after its appointment.

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – A divided United Nations Security Council voted Wednesday to tighten sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, but left widespread doubt that the new strictures will slow the regime’s expanding nuclear program or force it to the negotiating table.

While the vote allowed President Barack Obama to claim a narrow diplomatic win after months of haggling, it also divided world powers in a way that made the prospect of future sanctions seem more remote and a solution to Iran’s nuclear ambitions more uncertain.

The Security Council voted 12-2 with one abstention to adopt sanctions that further limit arms sales to Iran, restrict the overseas operations of its banks, add more Iranian companies to a blacklist, and authorize companies to search ships going to or from Iran that might carry prohibited nuclear items.

Despite last-minute lobbying from Western powers, Turkey and Brazil voted against the measure, while Lebanon abstained. Iran dismissed the importance of the sanctions vote.

The sanctions, the fourth such round since 2006, are aimed at forcing Iran to halt a nuclear program that Western powers believe is aimed at acquiring nuclear weapons know-how. Iran insists the expanding program is only for peaceful nuclear uses.

Obama said the resolution “will put in place the toughest sanctions ever faced by Iran, and it will send an unmistakable message about the international community’s commitment to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons.”

But while U.S. officials emphasized the importance of Russian and Chinese approval for the sanctions, their support came at the cost of agreements by Western officials to sharply water down the Security Council resolution.

“These are not the crippling sanctions that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had promised about a year ago,” said James Lindsay of the Council on Foreign Relations, who was a national Security Council official in the Clinton administration. “To the contrary.”

The United States had hoped to sharply curtail foreign financial services available to Iran and Iranian enterprises.

But the sanctions approved Wednesday don’t bar many financial services, including insurance or reinsurance, to Iranian individuals or companies. They don’t limit the Islamic Republic’s ability to produce or export oil, its most important export.

Many provisions of the sanctions resolution are essentially optional. For instance, governments can limit financial services provided to Iran by companies under their jurisdiction if the services are believed to further certain nuclear activities.

The resolution also says that governments may inspect ships on the high seas suspected of carrying forbidden items, but only if they have the consent of the country to which a suspicious ship is registered.

The Obama administration hopes to magnify the effect of the sanctions by spurring other countries and groups of countries to impose new and tougher layers of sanctions of their own.

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