Details of new sanctions that would target Iran's Revolutionary Guard have emerged after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the world's major powers had agreed a draft resolution over Tehran's disputed nuclear program.
The resolution -- which would herald the fourth set of UN sanctions over Iran's uranium-enrichment program -- envisions measures against the elite guards as well as targeting Iranian military, financial, and shipping industries believed to be linked to nuclear or proliferation activities.
It would ban the sale to Tehran of some heavy weapons such as attack helicopters, warships, and battle tanks, and seek to restrict Iran's activities on the development of ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
The fresh embargo's proposed conditions were disclosed after Clinton told a Senate subcommittee that the UN Security Council's five permanent members -- the United States, Britain, China, France, and Russia -- along with Germany, had agreed on the wording of a draft resolution and were moving forward with the sanctions process.
"We have reached agreement on a strong draft with the cooperation of both Russia and China," Clinton said. "We plan to circulate that draft resolution to the entire Security Council today."
'Additional Teeth' To Sanctions
Clinton's announcement came a day after Iran said it had agreed to a nuclear fuel-swap deal brokered by Turkey and Brazil in a move apparently designed to forestall further punitive measures. However, the White House said the agreement failed to satisfy demands that Tehran show greater transparency and cooperation.
Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the resolution was designed to give "additional teeth" to existing sanctions and other measures aimed at persuading Iran to address concerns that its uranium-enrichment program is not intended to produce nuclear weapons. Iran insists the program is aimed at producing civilian energy.
"The draft seeks to support and not replace our efforts to engage Iran diplomatically," Rice said. "We've said throughout this process that the door remains open to Iran to live up to its obligations and achieve a better relationship with the international community. The draft resolution would both build on existing UN sanctions on Iran and give them additional teeth."
The White House has spent more than a year trying to persuade world leaders that what it sees as Iran's defiance of its international obligations under nonproliferation agreements justifies a new round of tough UN sanctions.
Convincing Beijing, Moscow
Russia and China -- both of whom have strong economic ties with Iran -- have long opposed sanctions, but have indicated a willingness in recent months to support moves to prevent the Islamic regime from becoming a nuclear power.
Clinton said Beijing and Moscow's agreement on the wording of the draft resolution was the result of intense negotiations.
"I think there is no doubt that our cooperation and the intensive efforts that so many of us, along with our Russian counterparts, put into the START negotiations over the last year is part of the reason why we plan to circulate a draft resolution to the entire Security Council today that includes Russia and China and their agreement on the wording of the text," Clinton said.
Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said the draft was acceptable to Moscow because its implementation would not hamper normal economic activity or affect Iran's civilian population.
"We believe it is an adequate language; it is a language which is acceptable to us; a language we can live with, because it is focused adequately on nonproliferation matters," Churkin said.
However, Churkin stressed that while Moscow decided to go along with this draft, the resolution was sponsored by the United States and Russia was not a co-sponsor.
Chinese Ambassador Li Baodong reiterated his government's commitment to a dual-track approach of engagement and pressure and welcomed the Iranian-Turkish nuclear swap deal.
"[And] we believe that circulating this draft resolution does not mean the door for diplomacy is closed," Li said. "And we believe that the dialogue, diplomacy, negotiations [are] the best way to address the Iranian [nuclear] issue."
compiled from agency reports