U.N. Council to Vote on Reaffirming Iran Sanctions

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U.N. Security Council members agreed Saturday on the text of a resolution reaffirming previous sanctions on Iran for refusing to halt uranium enrichment for its nuclear program, diplomats said.

The council planned to meet later in the day to vote on the resolution, the diplomats said.

The U.S. and Russia reached a compromise Friday to lead a new effort to condemn Iran's nuclear program, without introducing any new sanctions.

Envoys for the council's 15 members met privately Saturday morning to discuss the draft resolution, and U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad told reporters afterward that agreement had been reached on the wording.

Even envoys from countries that abstained in votes on the past resolutions indicated they would go along with the current draft.

"Once a resolution is adopted by the Security Council it is incumbent upon member states to comply with it," Indonesian Ambassador Marty Natalegawa said, saying his country would support the resolution even though it didn't back the original resolutions.

The brief resolution restates three earlier Security Council votes that imposed sanctions on Iran for refusing to halt uranium enrichment while the U.N. atomic watchdog agency investigates suspicions that Tehran is trying to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies it is doing that.

Sanctions include an embargo on sales to Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs, an export ban on arms and travel bans and asset freezes that "target" specific Iranian officials, banks and other entities.

The new draft also calls on Tehran "to fully comply, without delay, with its obligations" and meet the requirements of the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency.

In Tehran, Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, said the new resolution would cause "mistrust" and would not help global peace and security.

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei warned Monday that he could not determine whether Iran is hiding some nuclear activities, comments that appeared to reflect a high level of frustration with stonewalling of his investigators by the Iranians.

Iran insists its nuclear program is purely peaceful, with the sole goal of using nuclear reactors to generate electricity. The U.S. and European powers suspect Tehran is pursuing nuclear weapons in violation of its commitments under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Those suspicious of Iran's aims note uranium enrichment can produce the fissile material needed to make nuclear bombs, although lower levels of enrichment can be used as fuel for reactors.

The Security Council consulted privately for more than an hour Friday and agreed to hold further talks on the new resolution.

It also was briefly discussed during a meeting of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other foreign ministers. Participants said the resolution had been backed by the six key players in negotiations with Iran — the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.

The United States, Britain and France have been arguing for a new round of sanctions to step up pressure on Iran. But Russia and China, both big trading partners with Iran, objected to new sanctions.

Earlier this week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused "a few bullying powers" of trying to thwart his country's legitimate nuclear program. He said Iran needs uranium enrichment to produce its own reactor fuel because it cannot rely on other nations.