New Iran Sanctions Affect Civilian, Military Goods
ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
And I'm Melissa Block.
The U.N. Security Council has imposed a third round of sanctions on Iran for its nuclear program. Negotiations over this latest round dragged on for weeks. In the end, the resolution passed with near unanimous support; only Indonesia abstained.
NPR's Jackie Northam has the details.
JACKIE NORTHAM: The latest international sanctions are meant to ratchet up the pressure on Iran for its refusal to stop enriching uranium, which Western powers believe might be used for nuclear weapons. Among other things, the resolution would freeze the assets of about a dozen companies and individuals suspected of having links to Iran's nuclear or ballistic missile program and authorize the inspection of any aircraft or ships to and from Iran that are suspected of carrying prohibited equipment.
Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. envoy to the U.N., says Iran has virtually ignored the previous resolutions and that the Security Council had no choice but to impose further sanctions.
BLOCK: Our vote today demonstrates that the council act when countries violate their international obligations. We hope Iran will engage in constructive negotiations over the future of its nuclear program.
NORTHAM: The resolution comes at a time when the U.S. has reduced leverage in persuading the council to act against Iran following a December intelligence report that said Iran had halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003.
Mohammad Khazee, Iran's ambassador to the U.N., referred to the intelligence report several times during his statement before the council, saying Iran is well within its legal rights to pursue its nuclear program, which he said was for peaceful purposes only.
BLOCK: History tells us that no amount of pressure, intimidation and threat will be able to coerce our nation to give up its basic and legal rights.
NORTHAM: Even so, today's resolution will make it more difficult and more costly for Iran to continue its nuclear program.
Jackie Northam, NPR News, Washington.