Saturday, December 23, 2006

UN Passes Iran Nuclear Sanctions

The UN Security Council has finally passed a resolution ordering sanctions on Iran if it doesn't halt uranium enrichment - something which isn't outlawed by the nuclear non-proliferation traty in the first place. Here's the BBC report:
The United Nations Security Council has unanimously voted to impose sanctions against Iran over its failure to halt uranium enrichment. The sanctions ban the supply of nuclear-related technology and materials and impose an asset freeze on key individuals and companies.

The US representative warned that Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons would make it less, not more, secure.

Iran says its programme is for peaceful purposes and has vowed to continue.

The resolution demands that Tehran end all uranium enrichment work, which can produce fuel for nuclear plants as well as for bombs.

The vote by the 15-member council took place exactly two months after Britain, France and Germany first introduced a draft resolution proposing sanctions.

The draft resolution was amended several times after objections from both the Russians and Chinese.

But after parts of the resolution were watered down, both Russia and China - who have close financial ties with Iran - backed the proposals.

The resolution, under Chapter Seven of Article 41 of the UN Charter, makes enforcement obligatory but limits action to non-military measures.

But acting US ambassador to the UN, Alejandro Wolff, said the resolution sent a strong warning that there would be serious repercussions to Iran's continued defiance of the international community.

"If necessary, we will not hesitate to return to this body if Iran does not take further steps to comply," Mr Wolff said.
And the AP's version adds some other details and has this quote:
“We don't think this resolution is enough in itself,” Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said. “We want to let the Iranians know that there is a big cost to them,” he added, so they will return to talks.
For their part, The Iranians are saying they will continue to enrich and that today's move delegitimizes the Security Council.

I have to say (although I am not at all fond of the Iranian regime or its actions) that a unanimous vote for sanctions over a process that non-NPT members like Pakistan, Israel and India get away with and which is not proscribed by the NPT is a bit rich. It looks like a set-up job with ulterior motives, and that is indeed what it is. A more honest - but far more difficult - course would have been to seek sanctions across a range of areas including nuclear work based upon Iran's funding of terrorist groups. But the US, in particular, pushed expediency rather than integrity. The stage is set for further uproar and clashes.

No comments: