Saturday, December 23, 2006


The Iranian government has vowed to continue its nuclear programme. The United Nations Security Council has unanimously voted to impose sanctions against Iran over its failure to halt uranium enrichment.
The sanctions ban the supply of nuclear-related technology and materials, freeze certain assets and limit travel for specific individuals.
The US representative warned that Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons would make it less, not more, secure.
Iran says its programme is for peaceful purposes and has vowed to continue.
The draft was amended several times to meet objections from Russia and China.
Hours before the vote, Russia's Vladimir Putin and US President George W Bush discussed the issue by telephone, agreeing on the importance of a unified stance.
The US ambassador to the UN said the resolution sent a strong warning that there would be serious repercussions to Iran's continued defiance of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
"If necessary, we will not hesitate to return to this body if Iran does not take further steps to comply," he said.
Delayed vote
The main sticking point for the five permanent members of the Security Council was getting Russia to agree on sanctions, the BBC's Andy Gallacher reports from the UN.
After protracted negotiations, Russia agreed to back the resolution, saying it would send a "strong message" to Iran about the need to comply with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
In a statement before the Security Council, the Russian representative emphasised that the resolution did not authorise the use of force.
The text has been watered down to take account of Russian concerns over such provisions as a freeze on the assets abroad of specific Iranian individuals and organisations.
Both China and Russia have strong financial ties with Iran.
Russia is building a nuclear power station in the country and China has significant oil interests in Iran.
The resolution demands that Tehran end all uranium enrichment work, which can produce fuel for nuclear plants as well as for bombs.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has threatened to reconsider relations with those countries which support sanctions.



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