Iran reacts angrily to new UN sanctions

Iran reacted angrily Sunday to fresh sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council over its nuclear program and ignored an offer of new talks from the major powers.

Iran reacts angrily to new UN sanctions

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki described the new sanctions, which build on a first package adopted in December, as "unlawful" and "unjustifiable".

Even though the resolution was adopted unanimously by the 15 members of the Security Council, he charged that the sanctions were the work of a small number of council members, an allusion to the main Western powers.

The resolution, agreed after days of behind-the-scenes bargaining, blocks all Iranian arms exports and freezes the overseas assets of 28 additional officials and institutions linked to Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

It also restricts financial aid or loans to Tehran, and sets a fresh 60-day deadline for Iran to comply with UN demands or face "further appropriate measures."

The new sanctions come after Iran ignored repeated ultimatums from the Security Council to suspend uranium enrichment, the process that produces fuel for nuclear power stations but in highly extended form can also make the fissile core for an atomic bomb.

"The unanimous adoption of this resolution reflects the international community's profound concern over Iran's nuclear program," said Britain's ambassador to the United Nations, Emyr Jones Parry.

The vote came amid an escalating diplomatic row between Iran and Britain over the fate of 15 British marines and sailors, who were seized in the Shatt al-Arab waterway between Iran and

Iraq

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Iraq on Friday as they conducted "routine" anti-smuggling operations.

Mottaki reiterated Iran's insistence that it has the right to master the nuclear fuel cycle for peaceful purposes under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

He ignored an offer from the major powers of fresh talks to try and get negotiations back up and running.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said he had been tasked with making contact with Iran's lead nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani to try to find a basis for a return to the negotiating table.

"I have been asked by the countries that have been dealing most closely with Iran to make contact with Dr Ali Larijani in order to see whether we can find a route to negotiations," he said.

"The door to negotiations is open. I hope we can together find a way to go through it."

The major powers have said that Iran must first suspend uranium enrichment activities before substantive talks can take place. Iran insists any suspension should be a matter for the negotiations themselves.

"We advise the 5+1 group (Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany) to return to the negotiating table as quickly as possible and without preconditions," the head of the foreign affairs committee of the Iranian parliament, Allaeddin Boroujerdi.

But after Saturday's vote, Russia, which has been one of Iran's leading defenders and is helping it to build a first nuclear power station in the Gulf port of Bushehr, called on the Tehran authorities to rethink their position.

"We hope they will thoroughly study the statement of the foreign ministers which is very positive and invites Iran to engage in talks to find a mutually acceptable formula for negotiation," said Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin.

Washington also voiced support for the offer of talks about talks.

Solana and other EU diplomats "would be in touch with the Iranian government in the days and weeks ahead to see if they might reconsider their obstinate refusal to renegotiate," said US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns.

Boroujerdi said Iran would not react to the new sanctions until after the Persian New Year holiday ends on April 3, when he said parliament would convene to consider its response.

During the protracted standoff with the West of the past 18 months, Iran has repeatedly used the conservative-dominated parliament as the conduit for its response.

When the first UN sanctions were adopted last December, MPs passed a series of measures requiring the government to toughen its stance on the nuclear issue.

One required it to resume uranium enrichment, another to suspend implementation of the additional protocol of the NPT, which provides for more wide-ranging inspections of nuclear facilities, and a third even demanded a review of Iran's cooperation with the UN watchdog.

Israel

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Iran's regional archfoe  Israel welcomed the new sanctions resolution, even though, at the insistence of Muslim Security Council members Indonesia and Qatar, it included an indirect reference to the goal of a nuclear-free Middle East, an allusion to its own undeclared nuclear arsenal.

"There is no doubt that this resolution is a step up in international efforts to stop Iran's nuclear program," said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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