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4 Mar, 2008 11:51

No military action against Iran: Russia

Western powers have triumphed at the UN Security Council, pushing through a third set of sanctions on Iran. However, they were forced to drop their bid for another resolution against the Islamic Republic. Britain, France and Germany had proposed a resolut

Russia and China claimed that more pressure on Tehran could provoke a resentful Iran to decrease its co-operation with the nuclear watchdog.

Russia's Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, also emphasised that any measures taken against Iran on this issue will exclude military action.

“This resolution was adopted in accordance with article 41, chapter 7 of the UN Charter. Moreover, if Iran doesn’t agree with the demand to halt the enrichment process and additional measures are required, it foresees that the Security Council will continue to work exclusively in the framework of article 41. Given this, any suggestion is excluded that the Security Council could approve the use of force against Iran, because we stand firm that the solution to the Iranian issue can only be found through policy and diplomacy,” Churkin said.

UN Security Council vote

Members of the United Nations Security Council have sent a clear message to Iran. A 14-0 vote cleared the way for a third round of sanctions against Iran, despite Indonesia's abstention.

The mounting pressure comes as Tehran continues to defy previous Security Council resolutions by refusing to suspend uranium enrichment. Iran insists its enrichment activities are intended only for peaceful civilian purposes, others suspect its real aim is to produce atomic weapons.

The resolution was co-sponsored by Britain, France and Germany. 

However, Iran's UN Ambassador Mohammad Khazee addressing the Council before the vote said his government would not comply with what he called an unlawful action against its peaceful nuclear programme.

“The credibility of the Security Council, whose primary responsibility is to maintain international peace and security, is readily downgraded to a mere tool of the national foreign policy of just a few countries, ” he said.

Russian Ambassador and current Security Council President Vitaly Churkin expressed the hope that the Iranians will now move to resolve the outstanding contentious issues.

“Unfortunately, the statement by the Iranian Ambassador was not what we hoping for. However, we believe that after they in Iran have had a chance to hear the statements of the members of the Security Council and, equally important, hear the statement of six Foreign Ministers, they will reflect on the current situation and things will change,” he said.

For the first time, the resolution calls for a ban on the trade and supply of “dual-use” goods, materials and technology that can be adapted for military as well as civilian purposes.

It also authorises inspection of air and sea shipments to and from Iran that are suspected of carrying banned items.

In additon, it's introducing the financial monitoring of two banks with suspected links to proliferation activities, and is also imposing a travel ban on five individuals linked to Iran’s nuclear effort. 

The resolution also orders countries to freeze the assets of 12 additional companies and 13 individuals with links to Iran’s nuclear or ballistic missile programmes.

One thing it won't affect is the Bushehr nuclear plant being built by Russia in Iran, which is to provide domestic power in the country.

On the very same day that more sanctions were imposed on Iran, additional pressure comes from the IAEA. The nuclear watchdog called for Iran to co-operate with an investigation over new intelligence suggesting the country sought to adapt nuclear material for military purposes. The international community says only more transparency will resolve this matter for serious concern.