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UN approves new Iran sanctions
Obama hails "toughest sanctions" but Ahmadinejad dismisses them as "pesky flies".
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2010 07:48 GMT


Obama hails 'toughest sanctions' but Ahmadinejad dismisses them as 'valueless' [Al Jazeera]

The United Nations Security Council has overwhelmingly agreed to a new package of economic sanctions against Iran.

Twelve of the council's 15 members voted on Wednesday to approve the sanctions resolution.

Turkey and Brazil both voted against the resolution, while Lebanon abstained.

Barack Obama, the US president, called the resolution "the toughest sanctions ever faced" by the Iranian government.

"We recognise Iran's rights. But with those rights come responsibilities," Obama said at the White House.

"And time and again, the Iranian government has failed to meet those responsibilities."

Susan Rice, the United States ambassador to the UN, praised the vote as a "decisive" move against Iran's nuclear programme, which she called a "grave threat to international security."

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, was one of several high-ranking Iranian officials to quickly condemn the decision. Ahmadinejad said the sanctions would not have an impact on Iran.

"Sanctions are falling on us from the left and the right. For us they are the same as pesky flies," Ahmadinejad said. "We have patience and we will endure throughout all of this."

Security Council 'damaged'

Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of the Iranian parliament's national security committee, said lawmakers would review the level of Iran's co-operation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

And Manouchehr Mottaki, the Iranian foreign minister, said the vote "damaged" the UN Security Council.

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Several other European countries praised the sanctions resolution,and the Chinese government endorsed it while insisting that it still wanted a diplomatic solution.

Victor Gao, director of the China National Association of International Studies, a government think-tank, said China could have vetoed the resolution but actually asked for full implementation of it.

"This resolution is a watered down version compared to original requests raised by the US and some of its allies," he told Al Jazeera.

"China has emphasised that diplomacy, engagement and dialogue with Iran is a better solution, especially after Turkey and Brazil reached the agreement with Iran about the swap of nuclear materials."

But Gao said that most of the key provisions in this resolution were not mandatory requirements on the party members.

"Therefore a country like China can choose to implement it or not," he said.

"It basically creates the legal justification for those countries that want to take these actions as specified in the resolution."

Further negotiations

The new package of sanctions expands an existing arms embargo against Iran, and prevents the country from importing technology for certain kinds of ballistic missiles.

It also imposes an asset ban and a travel freeze on more than three dozen companies and individuals, including Javad Rahiqi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of the Isfahan Nuclear Technology Centre.

In video


Robert Gates tells Al Jazeera's David Frost the vote is to spur Iran nuclear talks

Brazil and Turkey, both of whom last month negotiated a nuclear fuel swap dealwith Iran, warned that the new sanctions package would spoil the prospect of continued diplomacy with Tehran.

"We do not see sanctions as an effective instrument... [the] spiral of sanctions, threats and isolation can result in tragic consequences," said Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, Brazil's ambassador to the UN.

"The concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear program.... will not be resolved until dialogue begins."

Ahmadinejad has warned that the sanctions bill would scrap the fuel swap deal, which was agreed to last month.

Under the proposed deal, Iran would ship 1200 kilograms of enriched uranium to Turkey in return for nuclear fuel for a reactor in Tehran.

The US and its allies have been indifferent to the proposal, saying it was not a serious offer.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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