BBC News | Thursday, 10 June 2010 | 09:07 GMT
Iran’s parliament is to reconsider relations with the UN nuclear watchdog, following the latest round of UN sanctions, state media says. The announcement by National Security and Foreign Policy Committee head Alaeddin Boroujerdi did not specify what action might be taken. But correspondents say options could include restricting access by UN inspectors to Iranian nuclear sites. President Ahmadinejad has dismissed the UN sanctions as a "used handkerchief". Iran insists it wants only atomic energy, but a number of Western countries suspect it of trying to build nuclear weapons.
Russian sale ‘off’
On Wednesday, the UN Security Council voted to impose a fourth round of sanctions on Tehran for failing to halt its nuclear enrichment programme. The measures were passed after being watered down during negotiations with Russia and China. Beijing said on Thursday it "highly values" its relations with the Islamic republic, after incurring Tehran’s anger by voting for the measures. Meanwhile, Russia said the sanctions meant it could not supply Iran with the S-300 anti-missile system Tehran had ordered, a military source told Moscow’s Interfax news agency. The resolution includes measures to prohibit Iran from buying heavy weapons such as missiles and helicopters. The Security Council voted by 12 votes to two in favour; Brazil and Turkey voted against, while Lebanon abstained.
BBC News | Wednesday, 9 June 2010 | 16:34 GMT
The UN Security Council has voted in favour of fresh sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme. The council voted 12 to two, with one abstention, in favour of a fourth round of sanctions, including tighter finance curbs and an expanded arms embargo. The US welcomed the move and said Iran must choose a "wiser course". But Iran’s envoy to the UN’s nuclear watchdog Ali Asghar Soltanieh vowed Tehran would continue its uranium enrichment activities. "Nothing will change," he said. The US and its allies fear Iran is secretly trying to build a nuclear bomb, but Tehran insists its programme is aimed solely at peaceful energy use.
The Security Council resolution was opposed by Turkey and Brazil. They had earlier brokered a deal with Iran on uranium enrichment. Lebanon abstained. The new sanctions were passed after being watered down during negotiations with Russia and China on Tuesday. There are no crippling economic sanctions and there is no oil embargo. Those passed include prohibiting Iran from buying heavy weapons such as attack helicopters and missiles. They also toughen rules on financial transactions with Iranian banks and increase the number of Iranian individuals and companies that are targeted with asset freezes and travel bans. There is also a new framework of cargo inspections to detect and stop Iran’s acquisition of illicit materials.
Hailing the vote, the US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said: "The Security Council has risen to its responsibilities and now Iran should choose a wiser course." UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said the decision sent a "strong statement of international resolve", increasing the pressure on Iran to meet its obligations. German counterpart Guido Westerwelle said this was "a clear signal from the international community that atomic weapons for Iran are not acceptable". However, both Turkey and Brazil spoke out in opposition, saying the deal they had brokered with Iran had not been given time.
Reuters | Tue Apr 13, 2010 | 3:01pm IST
China said on Tuesday it wanted any UN Security Council action on Iran to promote a diplomatic way out of the nuclear standoff, edging closer to openly endorsing a resolution while hedging on sanctions. The remarks from Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu followed a meeting on Monday between Chinese President Hu Jintao and US President Barack Obama in which, according to a US official, Hu agreed his government would help craft a new Security Council resolution pressing Iran over its nuclear activities. Jiang was not so blunt. But her comments appeared to leave scant doubt that Beijing accepts that fresh Security Council action over Iran is coming, even if China wants room to negotiate over the sanctions proposed by Western powers. "We believe that the Security Council’s relevant actions should be conducive to easing the situation and conducive to promoting a fitting solution to the Iranian nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiations," Jiang told a news conference in Beijing, answering a question about the talks between Hu and Obama in Washington D.C.
"China supports a dual-track strategy and has always believed that dialogue and negotiations are the optimal channels for resolving the Iranian nuclear issue." The "dual-track" is diplomatic shorthand for offering Tehran economic and political incentives if it suspends its nuclear enrichment, and threats of sanctions if it refuses. China has close economic ties with Iran and has so far been reluctant to agree to tougher sanctions. Beijing is one of five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, each with the power to veto any proposed resolution. The five powers and Germany together make up the "P5+1" group that steers international talks on the Iran nuclear dispute.
Reuters | Sun Apr 11, 2010 | 8:16pm IST
Iran is not yet "nuclear capable" and the U.S. government has not concluded that it is inevitable that Tehran will get the bomb, Pentagon chief Robert Gates said in remarks aired on Sunday. "It is our judgment … they are not nuclear capable, not yet," Gates, the U.S. defense secretary, said on NBC’s "Meet the Press." Asked if the U.S. government had concluded this was inevitable, Gates said, "No. We have not … drawn that conclusion at all, and in fact we are doing everything we can to try and keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons." However, he added that "they (the Iranians) are continuing to make progress on these (nuclear) programs. It is going slower than they anticipated but they are moving in that direction."
U.S. President Barack Obama is pressing other global powers to agree to a fourth round of U.N. sanctions against Iran over its refusal to halt nuclear work that the West suspects is aimed at making bombs, a charge Iran denies. But some critics of Obama’s attempts to engage Iran have said they fear his administration may be preparing to shift from a strategy of keeping Iran from getting the bomb to a strategy of containing a nuclear-armed Iran. "We are probably going to get another U.N. Security Council resolution" of sanctions on Iran, Gates told NBC.
Reuters | Thu Apr 8, 2010 | 6:59pm IST
Iran’s president said on Thursday he would not plead with opponents of Tehran’s nuclear programme in order to avoid sanctions as Russia and the United States said new measures might be necessary. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who on Wednesday called U.S. President Barack Obama a nuclear-armed "cowboy", said Iran would "try to make an opportunity out of sanctions" rather than change its stance to avoid them. "We do not welcome the idea of threat or sanctions, but we would never implore those who threaten us with sanctions to reverse their sanctions against us," he was quoted as saying by the official news agency IRNA.
Ahmadinejad was speaking as Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a nuclear arms reduction treaty in Prague. The two were "working together at the United Nations Security Council to pass strong sanctions on Iran", Obama said. Medvedev said he was unhappy with Iran’s stance over its nuclear programme which the West believes is aimed at developing atomic weapons. "Tehran is not reacting to a range of suggested constructive compromise agreements. We can’t close our eyes to this. That is why I do not exclude that Security Council will have to examine this question again," Medvedev told reporters. Obama is hoping to persuade Russia and China — both Security Council veto holders — to drop their traditional reluctance to the new sanctions. His campaign is likely to continue next week when both Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao attend a summit on nuclear security in Washington.
Tue Mar 9, 2010 5:21pm IST
Iran said on Tuesday it hoped China would not give in to pressure to agree to new sanctions that the United States and its allies hope to win U.N. approval for over its nuclear programme. Washington and other Western powers want China to approve a proposed U.N. resolution imposing new sanctions on Iran, a big source of oil for China, after Iran refused an offer to enrich its uranium abroad. Western powers have been looking for signs of a shift in the position of a country with veto power on the U.N. Security Council, but both Iran and China have given no ground so far. "China is a great country which enjoys enough power to pursue its own decisions independently without being pressured by America," foreign minister spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said at a news conference in Tehran. "Of course our expectations from such a big country is the same … to pursue its foreign policies independently and just observe its own national interests," he said, citing Iran’s close relations with China.
Iran has turned to Chinese firms for investment in its energy and other sectors after Western firms turned away due to Iran’s political isolation and sanctions. China’s Foreign Minister said on Sunday new sanctions on Iran would not solve the stand-off over its nuclear programme, which Western powers fear will allow Tehran to develop a nuclear weapon. Iran says it is only interested in electricity. "China upholds resolving
BBC NEWS | 2010/02/19 | 12:07:37 GMT
Iran’s supreme leader has denounced international condemnation of Tehran’s nuclear programme, after a new report from the UN atomic watchdog, the IAEA. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the outcry was “baseless” as Iranians’ beliefs “bar us from using such weapons”. The blunt report raised concerns Iran was working on nuclear weapons. Germany said the report “confirms our great concerns”; while the US warned Iran it faced consequences if it failed to meet international responsibilities. Moscow said Iran must co-operate more actively with the International Atomic Energy Agency to convince the world its programme was peaceful.
But Ayatollah Khamenei countered: “We do not believe in atomic weapons and are not seeking that.” Iran has always maintained that its nuclear programme is peaceful. The US and other Western nations fear it is enriching uranium for nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, Iran launched its first domestically built destroyer, reportedly equipped with sophisticated radar, anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles as well as torpedoes and naval guns. Reports said the new 1,500-tonne guided missile destroyer, Jamaran, would be deployed in the Gulf. Continue reading