Iran Nuclear NewsIran sanctions resolution due for Saturday vote

Iran sanctions resolution due for Saturday vote

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Reuters: Security Council members on Friday will review a revised draft of a U.N. resolution to impose new sanctions against Iran over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, with a view to voting over the weekend. By Evelyn Leopold

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Security Council members on Friday will review a revised draft of a U.N. resolution to impose new sanctions against Iran over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, with a view to voting over the weekend.

While major powers said their proposed text was a final version, changes are still likely before a vote that British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry said was planned for Saturday.

The draft resolution, obtained by Reuters, rejects nearly all the amendments from South Africa that would have stripped the text of most provisions on weapons and financial bans.

But the negotiators provided a requested explanation of why each name on a list of 28 Iranian individuals, companies and institutions should be subject to an assets freeze.

In response, South Africa’s ambassador, Dumisani Kumalo, this month’s council president, expressed dismay.

“They told us we would be negotiating a give and take,” he told reporters on Thursday. “They are doing exactly what they said they weren’t going to do.”

South Africa’s main objection is that the new text would impose penalties outside of the nuclear sphere.

Pretoria also proposed a 90-day “time out” in imposing the sanctions, which Jones Parry said would have rewarded “noncompliance by actually lifting the obligation and that would have been totally perverse.”

U.S. deputy ambassador Alejandro Wolff said amendments had to be consistent with the “philosophy of this resolution,” which was drafted by Germany and the five permanent council members with veto rights — Russia, China, Britain, France and the United States.

PRESSURE FOR NUCLEAR-FREE ZONE

The resolution demands Iran halt uranium enrichment that can be used to build a bomb or for peaceful purposes. The United States and other nations suspect Iran may be developing nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian program, which Tehran denies.

Among other changes rejected were requests by Indonesia and Qatar to include language encouraging a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East, which the United States turned down, presumably because it was aimed at Israel.

But several diplomats said pressure was being put on Washington to accept this provision to get the support of Qatar and Indonesia, both of them Islamic nations.

Wolff said the nuclear-free zone “diverts from the focus of this resolution.”

A minimum on nine votes in favor and no veto is needed to pass a resolution and the measure has such backing. But it would carry more weight with the support of an influential country like South Africa, as well as Indonesia and Qatar.

The new text is a follow-up to one adopted in December banning trade in sensitive nuclear materials and ballistic missiles as well as freezing assets of individuals and institutions associated with atomic programs.

The draft would ban exports of all weapons and freeze assets abroad of 28 more people and institutions, including commanders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and companies they control, and the state-owned Bank Sepah.

It also calls for restrictions on new financial assistance or loans to the Iranian government.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad plans to address the council on the day of the vote on how its nuclear program is for generating energy only.

“If the president is going to come, this is the time to start moving now,” Kumalo said, adding he was contacting Iran’s U.N. ambassador, Javad Zarif.

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