The United Nations Security Council renewed its efforts at ending Iran's nuclear program Wednesday with a fourth round of sanctions.
The resolution, aimed at approximately 40 companies and a number of individuals associated with the Revolutionary Guard, will reinforce and expand a range of economic, technological, and military sanctions.
The newest round of sanctions includes:
- A requirement that financial institutions block any transactions by Iranian banks or institutions believed to be related to banned activities.
- An expansion of the existing arms embargo to include tanks, combat aircraft, and missiles.
- A new framework for inspecting cargo at sea and in ports in the event that nations have "reasonable grounds" to suspect that the ships are carrying banned goods.
- An expansion of existing asset freeze and travel bans against individuals and entities associated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The Council voted to approve the sanctions that had been described by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as "the most significant sanctions that Iran has ever faced." While not as comprehensive as American officials had hoped, the new sanctions have been lauded by the administration. Following approval, American envoy to the United Nations Susan Rice explained:
"Iran has shunned opportunity after opportunity to verify the peaceful nature of its nuclear program….Iran has given us all more reason, not less, to suspect that its goal is the ability to develop a nuclear weapon."
The resolution comes following months of diplomatic wrangling by the Obama administration and repeated threats by the Iranian regime. Back in May, the Obama administration announced its efforts had brought a consensus on the need for tougher sanctions between each of the veto-wielding members on the Security Council, including Russia and China.
Then, in the days leading up to the resolution, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned that any new sanctions would end the prospect of negotiations over Iran's nuclear program:
"The U.S. government and its allies are so mistaken if they think they can brandish the stick of resolution and then sit down to talk with us, such a thing will not happen…We will take to everyone if there is respect and fairness but if someone wants to talk to us rudely and in a domineering manner the response is known already."
Ultimately, the resolution garnered the support of 12 of the 15 members of the Security Council, with Turkey and Brazil voting against the Resolution and with Lebanon abstaining. Explaining their vote against the sanctions, Brazil's ambassador to the UN, Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, said:
"We do not see sanctions as an effective instrument…[the] spiral of sanctions, threats and isolation can result in tragic consequences."
With the new sanctions in place, the international community may now expand its efforts to crack down on the Iranian nuclear program. However, with three previous rounds of sanctions failing to have an effect, it remains unclear whether these tough new provisions will force Iran to halt uranium enrichment or cooperate with inspectors.