Friday, March 23, 2007

UN to Vote on New Iran Sanctions

Sponsors of a UN Security Council measure to reinforce sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program are ready to put it to a vote on Saturday 24 March. The resolution was expected to receive overwhelming support.

The Security Council members reviewed minor changes made to the text agreed last week by the five veto-wielding permanent members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- plus Germany.

The United States today issued a visa for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to allow him to attend the UN Security Council meeting. Ahmadinejad had announced the he will address the council on the day of the vote. If he is going to come, he should leave Tehran later today.

Amid mounting tensions over its nuclear ambitions, Tehran announced it had launched naval military exercises, codenamed "Power," in the Persian Gulf to display the Islamic Republic's "power and defense capability."

Earlier this year the United States increased its own naval presence in the Persian Gulf, in a move seen more directed at Iran than to support US forces in Iraq.

The UN Security Council resolution would ban arms exports, calls for trade sanctions and expands a list of Iranian officials and companies targeted for financial and travel restrictions.

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