Acting U.S. Ambassador to the UN Alejandro Wolff (file photo) (official site)
March 20, 2007 -- South Africa has offered amendments to a UN Security Council draft resolution expanding sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.
South Africa -- this month's council president -- wants a 90-day pause on imposing new sanctions on Iran, something mentioned in the past by Muhammad el-Baradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
South Africa also wants to drop from the current draft resolution an embargo of arms exports and financial sanctions targeting Iran's Revolutionary Guards and Bank Sepah.
Acting U.S. Ambassador to the UN Alejandro Wolff said the five permanent members of the Security Council -- which drafted the current draft along with Germany -- discussed the South African proposals on March 19.
The British and French UN ambassadors said South Africa's suggestions were not "helpful."
The South African move could delay a vote on the resolution, although with support from all five permanent members the current draft is likely to be adopted.
Western nations want Iran to stop uranium enrichment, which they suspect could be used for making nuclear weapons. Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes only.
(AFP, Reuters, AP)