U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns says it is time for the United Nations Security Council to impose additional sanctions on Iran. In the past year, the Security Council has adopted unanimously two Chapter Seven resolutions sanctioning Iran over its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment-related, reprocessing, and heavy water-related activities. Such activities can lead to the acquisition of a nuclear weapons capability.
A third U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution, says Mr. Burns, should be passed “as soon as possible, so that Iran gets the message that as long as it’s defying the Security Council, which it currently is. . . .then there’s going to be a price to what Iran does. And that price will be increased isolation and heightened sanctions.”
In addition to pressing the Security Council for further action, the U.S. is taking additional steps of its own. In October, the U.S. announced new designations to cut off Tehran’s access to the international financial system, which Iran uses to support its nuclear weapons program and terrorist activity.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson described the targets of the new U.S. measures:
“We are designating Iran’s Bank Melli, Bank Mellat and Bank Saderat. These are three of Iran’s largest banks. They all have facilitated Iran’s proliferation activities or its support of terrorism. We are also designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for proliferation activity and its Quds force for providing material support to the Taliban and other terrorist organizations.”
Under Secretary of State Burns says that other countries should also take steps to penalize Iran for its dangerous policies. He said that Tehran’s major trade partners need to reduce trade with Iran and show Tehran that there cannot be “business as usual.”
“Conflict with Iran is not inevitable,” says Under Secretary of State Burns. “It is not desirable, and we believe that diplomacy can succeed. It must succeed, but it will only succeed if all of us are trying to make it stronger.”