Tehran Hopes New UN Sanctions against Iran will be Shelved

A03550034.jpgTEHRAN (FNA) – Iran is hoping that the UN Security Council will not adopt a new resolution on sanctions against the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program, the foreign minister said on Saturday.The five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany agreed January 22 at talks in Berlin on a draft for new measures against the Islamic Republic, strengthening two previous rounds of sanctions but falling short of the punitive steps proposed by Washington. The draft may be submitted to the Security Council as early as the next week.

“We hope that the Security Council will not make the wrong decisions, knowing that there are no grounds for doing so,” , RIA Novosti quoted Manouchehr Mottaki as saying on the sidelines of an economic forum in Davos, Switzerland.

He reiterated that last year, the IAEA issued a generally positive report on Tehran’s cooperativeness with UN inspectors, and a US intelligence community report stated that the country has been pursuing a peaceful nuclear program for several years.

“It would be better for the UN Security Council to correct its past mistakes [in relation to Iran],” the minister said.

The diplomatic standoff between Iran and the West began almost six years ago over suspicions that Tehran’s nuclear work is a cover for an atomic weapons program. Since then, two rounds of sanctions have been imposed – in December 2006 and March 2007.

The new set of sanctions stipulates monitoring of activities related to Iranian Bank Melli and Bank Saderat, and mandatory inspection of cargo carried by Iran Air Cargo and Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line.

It also contains recommendations for all countries to take caution when developing contacts with Iran, especially in trade and finance.

US is at loggerheads with Iran over Tehran’s independent and home-grown nuclear technology. Washington has laid much pressure on Iran to make it give up the most sensitive and advanced part of the technology, which is uranium enrichment, a process used for producing nuclear fuel for power plants.

Washington’s push for additional UN penalties contradicted a recent report by 16 US intelligence bodies that endorsed the civilian nature of Iran’s programs. Following the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and a similar report by the IAEA head in November which praised Iran’s truthfulness about key aspects of its past nuclear activities, Russia and China increased resistance to any further punitive measures by the Security Council.

Tehran says it never worked on atomic weapons and wants to enrich uranium merely for civilian purposes, including generation of electricity, a claim substantiated by the NIE and IAEA reports.

Iran has insisted it would continue enriching uranium because it needed to provide fuel to a 300-megawatt light-water reactor it was building in the southwestern town of Darkhovin.

Iran has also pledged to clear up all remaining questions over the program by late February.

Not only many Iranian officials, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but also many other world nations have called the UN Security Council pressure unjustified, especially in the wake of recent IAEA reports saying Iran had increased cooperation with the agency.

US President George W. Bush, who finished a tour of the Middle East on Wednesday, has called on his Arab allies to unite against Iran.

But hosting officials of the regional nations dismissed Bush’s allegations, describing Tehran as a good friend of their countries.

Bush’s attempt to rally international pressure against Iran has lost steam due to the IAEA and US intelligence reports.

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