Thursday, 10 June 2010

UN votes for new sanctions on Iran over nuclear issue

The UN Security Council has voted in favour of fresh sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme.

The council voted 12 to two, with one abstention, in favour of a fourth round of sanctions, including tighter finance curbs and an expanded arms embargo.

US President Barack Obama said the sanctions were an unmistakable message on stopping the spread of nuclear arms.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the sanctions should be thrown in the dustbin like a "used handkerchief".

The US and its allies fear Iran is secretly trying to build a nuclear bomb, but Tehran insists its programme is aimed solely at peaceful energy use.

Heavy weapons

The Security Council resolution was opposed by Turkey and Brazil. They had earlier brokered a deal with Iran on uranium enrichment. Lebanon abstained.

The new sanctions were passed after being watered down during negotiations with Russia and China on Tuesday.

There are no crippling economic sanctions and there is no oil embargo.

Those passed include prohibiting Iran from buying heavy weapons such as attack helicopters and missiles.

They also toughen rules on financial transactions with Iranian banks and increase the number of Iranian individuals and companies that are targeted with asset freezes and travel bans.

There is also a new framework of cargo inspections to detect and stop Iran's acquisition of illicit materials.

Mr Obama accused Iran's leaders of "hiding behind outlandish rhetoric".

But he said the sanctions did "not close the door on diplomacy" and he urged Iran to "choose a different and better path".

For the full story please visit BBC News.

For more news and expert analysis about Iran please see Iran Strategic Focus or visit Menas Associates Newsroom.

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