Iran says UN Sanctions Show Double Standard

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Associated Press

Iran says UN Sanctions Show Double Standard

by
Ali Akbar Dareini

Iran says its nuclear programme is purely for civilian purposes. (EPA)

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran's top security body on Friday railed against the
latest U.N. sanctions imposed over Tehran's controversial nuclear
program, saying they show world powers are applying a double standard.

The
Supreme National Security Council said that U.S. and other
nuclear-armed powers have punished Iran with the sanctions even though
it doesn't have nuclear weapons, while at the same time they support
Israel, which is widely believed to have a sizable nuclear arsenal.

The
Jewish state, which unlike Iran has not signed the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty, maintains a policy of deliberate ambiguity
about its nuclear program, neither confirming nor denying that it has
nuclear weapons.

"The world has never seen any Security Council
resolution about the Zionist regime's proliferation of nuclear
weapons," the Iranian council said, referring to Israel. "The Security
Council has never wanted to investigate who provided nuclear weapons to
this regime."

The Iranian council said there was no justification
for the sanctions against Iran and stressed the U.N. nuclear watchdog
never found evidence of Tehran diverting its nuclear program into
weapons-making.

"The resolution about the Islamic Republic of
Iran's peaceful nuclear activities is based on trumped up charges that
have never been proven," the council said.

The statement was the
latest in a series of rebukes from Iran after the Security Council
earlier this month approved new sanctions against Iran over its refusal
to halt uranium enrichment, a technology that can be used to produce
nuclear fuel or materials for a warhead.

The U.N. measure imposes
new sanctions on 40 Iranian companies and organizations — 15 linked to
Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard and 22 involved in nuclear or
ballistic missile activities — and bans Iran from pursuing "any
activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear
weapons."

It also bars Iranian investment in activities such as
uranium mining, and prohibits Iran from buying several categories of
heavy weapons, including attack helicopters and missiles.

The
sanctions came after last year's push to get Iran to accept a
U.N.-drafted plan to swap its low-enriched uranium for higher-enriched
uranium in the form of fuel rods, which Tehran needs for a medical
research reactor. At the time, the swap would have significantly
reduced Iran's low-enriched uranium stockpile and delayed any
weapons-making capabilities.

Instead, Iran opted for an
alternative plan backed by Turkey and Brazil that included the
uranium-for-rods exchange but didn't mandate a halt on Iran's
enrichment process and fell short of U.N. demands.

The United
States and its allies are concerned Iran's continued uranium enrichment
could produce a nuclear weapon. Iran denies this, saying it only seeks
nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and insists on its rights under
the nonproliferation treaty to enrich uranium and produce nuclear fuel.

The
European Union adopted its own new sanctions against Iran on Thursday,
a day after the Obama administration imposed U.S. penalties against
additional individuals and institutions it says are helping Iran
develop its nuclear and missile programs and evade international
sanctions.

Iran currently enriches uranium up to 20 percent — far
short of the 95 percent level needed for an atomic weapon — and
justifies its decision to go to higher enrichment levels by saying it
needs to make fuel for a research reactor producing medical isotopes.

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