Iran Nuclear NewsIran to face more travel bans, asset freezes-draft

Iran to face more travel bans, asset freezes-draft

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Reuters: Proposed new United Nations sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program call for travel bans and asset freezes for specific Iranian officials and vigilance on all banks in Iran, according to a draft text. By Patrick Worsnip and Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS, Jan 25 (Reuters) – Proposed new United Nations sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program call for travel bans and asset freezes for specific Iranian officials and vigilance on all banks in Iran, according to a draft text.

The text of “elements” of a third round of sanctions, obtained by Reuters on Friday, was agreed by Britain, France, Germany, the United States, Russia and China and will be the basis of a resolution intended for the Security Council to pass in the next few weeks.

The foreign ministers of the five permanent Security Council members and Germany agreed on the outline in Berlin on Tuesday and their text was circulated on Friday to the 10 nonpermanent council members.

Diplomats said the draft represented a compromise, since it did not contain the tough punitive economic measures that Washington had been pushing for.

Western countries say Iran’s refusal to stop enriching uranium is behind their suspicion that Tehran is seeking nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful and has ignored U.N. demands that it cease enrichment.

“It’s a strong draft proposal which demonstrates the continuity of the approach of the international community,” French Ambassador to the United Nations Jean-Maurice Ripert said in a statement.

“We are sending a very clear signal to Iran and we are increasing the pressure on Iran,” he said. “Iran must respect its obligations.”

The proposal says the resolution will demand again that Iran halt enrichment immediately and will include a list of specific individuals whose travel should be restricted and assets frozen. Their names were not immediately available.

The draft says they are individuals linked to “Iran’s proliferation sensitive activities or for the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems … (or) procurement of the prohibited items, goods, equipment, materials or technology.”

BANK MONITORING

Among the specific measures, the proposal “calls upon states to exercise vigilance over the activities of financial institutions … with all banks domiciled in Iran.”

As expected, it says countries should be especially vigilant regarding two large Iranian banks — Bank Melli and Bank Saderat — though it does not ban transactions with them as the four Western powers had wanted.

Russia and China had objected, demanding a voluntary call for increased monitoring instead. Dealings with Iran’s Bank Sepah were banned last year in the second round of sanctions.

The proposal also urges countries to inspect cargo going into and coming out of Iran if they are suspicious of its contents and to be cautious about granting export credits or guarantees to companies doing business there.

The proposal says the council wants a report within 90 days on whether Iran has suspended enrichment from Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the U.N.’s Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency.

The proposal also leaves open the possibility of a return to the negotiating table to discuss an offer of economic incentives the six powers made to Iran in 2006.

It says the aim of such talks, which would only begin once Iran halted enrichment, would be a resolution of the standoff “which would allow for the development of all-round relations and wider cooperation with Iran based on mutual respect.”

Iran rejected the 2006 offer, saying it was unwilling to consider a suspension of uranium enrichment. (Editing by Chris Wilson)

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