US, British officials draft stronger sanctions on Iran

1275.jpgThe United States and Britain are preparing drafts for a punishing new UN resolution against Iran that could impose sweeping travel bans on the country’s top military and security officials, require inspections on its cargo flights and ships, forbid all import and export of arms shipments, and freeze the assets of major Iranian banks, according to US and European officials.
Security Council resolution would be the third against Iran for failing to comply with a UN demand for a freeze of Tehran’s uranium enrichment program. That program produces peaceful nuclear energy but could also be subverted to develop the world’s deadliest weapon.

New momentum behind a third resolution is expected if Iran fails to agree to suspend enrichment at talks in Lisbon today between European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Iran’s national security adviser, Ali Larijani.

Some European diplomats have been discussing the idea of a compromise with Iran that would call for a partial freeze , a stance that could put them at odds with Washington, the Associated Press reported yesterday.

The US and British drafts, which overlap in many places, are designed to ratchet up the pressure greatly on Tehran. The two previous resolutions, in December and March, imposed limited sanctions that have had marginal impact.

The common ideas in both drafts could face significant resistance from Russia and China, two of the five Security Council members that have veto power. They have both been able to water down earlier resolutions on Iran.

The US draft calls for mandatory travel bans against many senior officials from Iran’s intelligence and defense ministries.

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