The Times: The confidential United States proposal for new UN sanctions on Iran includes the power to seize Iranian smuggling ships, curbs on investment in the energy sector, a comprehensive arms embargo and a boycott of the Revolutionary Guards, diplomats say. The Times
James Bone in New York
The confidential United States proposal for new UN sanctions on Iran includes the power to seize Iranian smuggling ships, curbs on investment in the energy sector, a comprehensive arms embargo and a boycott of the Revolutionary Guards, diplomats say.
The five-pronged paper is under discussion in a series of secret meetings in New York between Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the US, known as the E3+3. The US proposals are likely to be severely weakened by objections from China and Russia, which both hold veto power on the UN Security Council, before they are voted on in the 15-nation council, probably in June.
After months of dallying, China agreed last week to join discussions on the US proposal for a fourth round of UN sanctions to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Chinese President Hu Jintao told President Obama during the nuclear security summit in Washington on Monday that Beijing was ready to start drafting a new UN resolution on Iran.
Diplomats say, however, that China and Russia have privately voiced objections to virtually all of the new sanctions being proposed.
The US wants the UN to confer power to seize Iranian ships caught transporting illegal weapons — a power granted over North Korean vessels in a UN sanctions package passed in June.
China argues, however, that North Korea has openly flouted the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and built a nuclear bomb, and say that Iran does not deserve to be treated as harshly as Pyongyang.
Beijing also objects to a proposed ban on new investments in Iran’s energy sector, fearing that it could hurt the Iranian people and disrupt Iranian energy supplies to China.
Russia opposes a comprehensive arms embargo because it would halt small arms imports into Iran from Russia, which are currently still legal.
Moscow also questions whether the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps can be sanctioned as an entire organisation because some of its activities are legitimate.
UN ambassadors from the six powers have met to continue the negotiations. Diplomats say that a vote is unlikely before June because it could interfere with the five-yearly NPT review conference being held at UN headquarters in May and risk destabilising Lebanon, which holds the Security Council’s rotating presidency next month.