What’s in the new Iran sanctions draft?

By Matt Loffman

May 18, 2010 5:15pm

From Kirit Radia This afternoon the US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice circulated among the UN Security Council a draft of new sanctions against Iran for its noncompliance with previous resolutions that called on Tehran to suspend nuclear enrichment and cooperate with international nuclear inspectors. This new sanctions draft is tougher than previous resolutions, and tougher than observers expected. It’s wider, allowing for new inspection of Iranian cargo and banning Iran from mining uranium abroad, and deeper, expanding an arms embargo and measures against Iran’s banking sector. The wording of the text will ultimately determine the strength of the sanctions, whether it requires countries to take action or merely suggests they stay vigilant, but so far no draft has been made public. A senior US official briefed reporters today on the resolution’s contents, speaking only on the condition of anonymity because the resolution had not yet been presented to the full UN Security Council. The sanctions are less than what the US had wanted, for example it doesn’t sanction Iran’s petroleum industry, but it is much stronger than anyone expected, especially in light of yesterday’s nuclear fuel swap deal which some thought could pry China away from supporting sanctions. The debate that begins in the Security Council this afternoon could water the sanctions down a bit further as the US and its allies try for as many ‘yes’ votes as possible, but US officials say they don’t expect Lebanon Brazil and Turkey to support sanctions no matter what resolution ultimately emerges.
So what’s in the draft sanctions resolution? According to a senior US official: New areas sanctioned:
- Prohibits Iran from investing in sensitive activities abroad, like uranium mining, enrichment, or ballistic-missile activities (would potentially affect Iran’s recent deal to mine uranium in Zimbabwe, and prohibit its suspected cooperation with a Syrian nuclear or missile programs). Countries are then prohibited from allowing such activity on their soil
- Iran prohibited from undertaking any ballistic missile production or activity that could carry a nuclear weapon
- Focus on officials in and business interests of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, which has expanded its reach
- Cargo inspections of ships thought to be carrying proliferation related materials to and from Iran, both in port and at sea (it’s unclear what exactly would be required under the resolution, but the official said the language will be similar to what was included in UNSC resolution 1874 against North Korea)
- Calls on countries to block financial transactions, including the insurance and re-insurance of Iranian cargo Expanded existing sanctions:
- Expands arms sale and transfer ban to include 8 more weapons, including: tanks, armored combat vehicles, combat aircraft, large caliber artillery systems, attack helicopters, warships, missiles or missile systems, and any training on those weapons… calls for vigilance in transfer/sale of all weapons systems
- Expands asset freezes and travel bans for certain individuals and entities, though the list of who exactly is still being formulated
-Expands banking and financial sanctions, urging vigilance of banking related to the Revolutionary Guard
-Urges countries not to allow sanctioned Iranian banks to open branches in their countries if there is a potential link to proliferation, and to not allow their banks to open branches in Iran if it could be used for proliferation purposes Demands, new and reiterated:
- Demands Iran suspend uranium enrichment
- Demands Iran needs to cooperate with IAEA inspectors
- Will reference IAEA reports of non-compliance with inspectors
- Will reference “troubling” developments: Qom facility discovery and decision to enrich uranium up to 20%
- Will express concern about expanding role of Revolutionary Guard in proliferation of sensitive material/technology
- Calls on countries to exercise vigilance when dealing with Iranian banking sector, including the central bank
-Call attention to a connection between funds derived from Iran’s sector and investments in proliferation related activity, including the use of dual-use technology The resolution would also, for the first time for Iran, call for the establishment of a panel of experts to monitor the implementation of sanctions and improve enforcement. The resolution will include the June 2008 incentives package to Iran as an annex. -Kirit Radia

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