United Nations Security Council has agreed on a final package of
economic sanctions against Iran, paving the way for a vote as early as
Wednesday, diplomats say.
Tuesday's announcement came after countries reached an agreement on
a list of companies and individuals subject to a travel ban and an
draft resolution - the fourth mandating sanctions against Iran - is
sponsored by the five permanent members of the Security Council: the
US, Britain, France, China and Russia.
In addition to the blacklist, it expands an existing arms embargo
against Iran, and prevents the country from importing technology for
certain kinds of ballistic missiles.
Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, called the proposed sanctions the "most significant" ever against Iran.
"I think it is fair [to say] that these are the most significant
sanctions that Iran has ever faced," she said. "The amount of unity
that has been engendered by the international community is very
'Stick of resolution'
The Security Council announcement came several hours after Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, warned that any new sanctions would
end the prospect of negotiations over Iran's nuclear programme.
"The US government and its allies are so mistaken that if they think
they can brandish the stick of resolution and then sit down to talk
with us, such a thing will not happen," he said.
"We will talk to everyone if there is respect and fairness but if
someone wants to talk to us rudely and in a domineering manner the
response is known already."
Ahmadinejad also gave warning that a nuclear fuel swap deal reached last month - negotiated by Turkey and Brazil - could be scrapped if the UN approves new sanctions.
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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.
The Iranian president had hoped that his warning, made at a regional
security summit in Turkey, would sow seeds of doubt in the minds of
Russian and Chinese leaders. Both are veto-wielding members of the
council, and they have ensured that previous drafts of the resolution
were watered down.
Alireza Ronaghi, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Tehran, said the
sanctions under discussion at the UN would not have a drastic effect on
the Iranian economy.
"It's important to remember that the Iranian economy has been under
sanction for 30 years now," he said. "None of the sanctions are going
to choke the Iranian economy."
'Window of opportunity'
Jorio Dauster, a former Brazilian ambassador to the European Union,
told Al Jazeera that the new round of sanctions will be
"counterproductive" for three main reasons.
"First of all, they [sanctions] will probably close the very narrow
window of opportunity for negotiations that Brazil and
Turkey called for a few weeks ago," he said.
"Secondly, I believe that those sanctions are going to increase the
domestic support in Iran for Ahmadinejad and the Revolutionary Guard
since they will be able to show that the major powers have once again
treated Iran badly.
"And, finally, although the sanctions will impose an economic cost
on Iran and some difficulties for the Revolutionary Guard, they will
not in many ways impede the development of nuclear power."