Fri, Feb 29, 2008 - Page 6 News List

Security Council expected to pass new Iran sanctions

TIGHTER RULES For the first time, the resolution would ban trade with Iran in goods that have both civilian and military uses and introduce monitoring on two banks

AP , UNITED NATIONS

The UN Security Council will approve new sanctions against Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment -- but the timing is uncertain and the resolution may not get unanimous support.

US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said last week a vote would be scheduled today. But council diplomats said on Wednesday it was likely to be delayed until next week to try to get four non-permanent members who have expressed concern about the resolution -- Libya, Indonesia, South Africa and Vietnam -- to back it.

The five veto-wielding permanent council members -- the US, Russia, China, Britain and France -- have already agreed on the draft resolution.

The five global powers and Germany offered Iran a package of economic incentives and political rewards in June 2006 if it agreed to freeze uranium enrichment before talks on its nuclear program. But Iran has refused, despite two previous sets of UN sanctions.

Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin was quoted by the ITAR-Tass news agency on Wednesday as saying: "Russia will support new Security Council resolution regarding Iran if Tehran does not halt uranium enrichment in coming days."

The resolution needs nine "yes" votes for adoption, and council diplomats say Italy, Belgium, Croatia, Panama, Burkina Faso and Costa Rica will support it, so it will pass easily.

But diplomats said the permanent members want the resolution to get unanimous approval, just as the previous sanctions resolution against Iran did, so closed-door talks have been taking place with the four reluctant members.

The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks have been private.

Libyan UN Ambassador Giadalla Ettalhi told reporters on Monday that he would vote against the current draft, which would expand travel restrictions and the freezing of assets to more Iranian officials linked to the nuclear effort and impose a travel ban on some of those most involved in proliferation activities.

For the first time, it would ban trade with Iran in any goods that have both civilian and military uses.

It would also introduce financial monitoring on two banks and call on all countries "to exercise vigilance" in granting export credits, guarantees or insurance.

And it would authorize inspections of shipments to and from Iran that are suspected of carrying prohibited goods.

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