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New UN Sanctions On Iran

The United Nations Security Council has voted to impose new sanctions on Iran for Tehran's refusal to suspend its nuclear enrichment activities. The new sanctions come in the wake of a new report on Iran's nuclear program by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which notes that “contrary to the decisions of the Security Council, Iran has not suspended its enrichment related activities.” The report also indicates that Iran is not providing a full accounting of detailed documentation describing Iran’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons or facilitating IAEA verification that these efforts have ceased.

The IAEA expressed “serious concern” about Iran’s refusal to respond to information that allegedly shows Iran has been secretly involved in high explosives testing, missile design, and nuclear material production. According to the IAEA, Iran must cooperate because these issues are “critical to an assessment of a possible military dimension to Iran’s nuclear program.”

The UN Security Council has demanded that Iran suspend all uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities. Enriched uranium can be used to produce the fissile material for nuclear weapons. The report says that Iran has started work on developing centrifuges that can enrich uranium more efficiently. During the past year, the IAEA reported a dramatic expansion of Iran’s enrichment activities.

Until Iran meets its obligations and has fully disclosed any weapons-related activities to the IAEA, and allowed the IAEA to verify that they have stopped, the international community can have no confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program. Here is U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice:

“Iran continues to enrich. It is, in fact, enhancing its enrichment activities. It is clearly making all kinds of statements that suggest it’s not going to deal with the will of the international community. It hasn’t answered questions about past activities in covert programs that they say they didn’t have, and it has not moved toward [implementing] the additional protocol [to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty].”

Secretary Rice says the report demonstrates that “whatever the Iranians may be doing to try to clean up some elements of the past, it is inadequate given their current activities, given questions about their past activities, and given what we all have to worry about, which is the future in which Iran could start to perfect technologies that could lead to a nuclear weapon.”