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18 May, 2010 22:35

Iran may get a deal and sanctions

Iran is facing new sanctions, after the US put forward draft measures against the country for refusing to halt nuclear enrichment.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in hearings on May 18 that the United States and other major world powers have agreed on a draft resolution that could impose a fourth round of United Nations sanctions on Iran.

“The draft resolution would ban Iran's investment in sensitive nuclear activity abroad…impose binding new restrictions on Iran's import of conventional arms ban activities related to Iran's ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons. It would impose cargo inspection framework to deter and detect and stop Iran’s acquisition of illicit materials and sensitive nuclear items,” Susan Rice, US ambassador to the UN said.

The proposal has been accepted by veto-wielding countries in the UN Security Council, and is now being circulated to all members.

The announcement came a day after Iran made a deal with Turkey and Brazil that would see Iranian low-enriched uranium shipped to Turkey.

The deal between Iran and Turkey was similar to one proposed by the West and its allies last year, but the Brazil-brokered deal has been coolly received by the US and its allies. While specifics about the sanctions remain scarce, the plan would likely be intended to inflict additional economic penalties on Iranian entities and officials.

The draft resolution also calls for an annex of specific individuals and entities that would be targeted with asset freezes and travel bans. Council members Brazil and Turkey say the so-called smart sanctions would be ineffective and dangerous.

China, Britain, France and Germany helped draft the resolution arguing Iran’s nuclear activities violates binding commitments and keep international inspectors in the dark.

Russia, historically reluctant over sanctions, says more diplomatic pressure will be specifically targeted.

“It's language that's acceptable to us, language we can live with, because it is focused adequately on non-proliferation matters. And it's not supposed to create problems for normal economic activities in Iran. It's not supposed to create problems for normal economic relations of Iran with various countries. It's not supposed to cause humanitarian damage for Iran,” Russian ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin said.

Read also – Iran Has Less Than 24 Hours to Sign Nuclear Swap Deal

Jacqueline Shire, a senior analyst at the Institute for Science and International Security, said that the UN resolution is likely to contain targeted sanctions on financial institutions and mechanisms Iran uses to fund its energy sector, but they may not be particularly strong.

"Secretary Clinton noted today that Russia, China, Britain, France, the United States and Germany are supporting this resolution. That often means that in order to get that full P5 support, you have to compromise on the strength of the sanctions,” said Shire.

Shire said that the announcement of the sanctions deal were not related to the Brazil-brokered deal and were instead other issues surrounding the Iran nuclear program, including Iran’s non-compliance with numerous UN Security Council resolutions calling on the country to halt its nuclear enrichment program.

It’s possible that we get a sanctions resolution and we get a deal to remove fuel from Iran in exchange for fuel for the Tehran research reactor, and we get engagement, said Shire. “The sanctions are not an end in and of themselves, it is part of a larger process.”