So called permanent U.N. powers and Germany, weary of Iran's hardening position on its nuclear program, agreed "in principle" on a new set of sanctions on Tehran for continuing to defy world demands to abandon its enrichment program. The caveats are that their respective governments still to need to approve these new sanctions and also be accepted by the other 10 rotational members of the Security Council.
Acting U.S. Ambassador Alejandro Wolff said that the nuclear powers have agreed on a "package approach" that would be "the way forward in a resolution." Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin concurred that all nuclear powers had agreed "by and large" but some of them wanted confirmation form their governments but said that "they will get a positive response from the capitals." Moscow recently closed ranks with the West by refusing planed delivery of nuclear fuel to Iran this month and also announced that the September completion of a Russian-built nuclear power plant will be postponed. Russia says that the delay is because of Tehran's failure to remit the monthly USD 25 million on the USD 1 billion plant in Bushehr but Iran cries foul saying that it has paid all the money as required. Independent observers say that Moscow is merely adding to the pressure on Tehran to comply, After all, Russia has publicly said that they do not support a "nuclear Iran or an Iran with the potential to create" nuclear bombs.
In December 2006, the Security Council unanimously voted to impose limited sanctions against Iran and required all countries to stop supplying Iran with materials and technology that could contribute to its nuclear and missile programs, It also froze assets of 10 key Iranian companies and 12 individuals related to those programs and held out a promise of additional non-military sanctions if Iran did not accede to these demands.
Discounting concerns from the U.S., European nations, and the U.N. nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) continues to maintain that its enrichment program is peaceful and is to produce nuclear energy. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned that the West is committing a serious mistake in thinking that its sanctions will "isolate the Iranian nation" because this will not "hurt Iran" but end up isolating itself make itself "more hated." It has refused to even acknowledge the December 2006 sanctions and has now hardened its position by comparing itself to India and Israel-two other countries that have nuclear weapons programs but have not been involved in any proliferation. An Iranian spokesman refused to acknowledge the dangers of additional sanction as "It will not affect our work and will not concern our people" and that "it is not worrying." Ahmadinejad's reformist predecessor Mohammad Khatami warned on Monday that Iran should act with caution and even compromise to prevent the adoption of a second UN resolution.
Israel's Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Amir Peretz met with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to discuss Iran's nuclear program. Livni later said that the world must impose tougher sanctions on Iran because of its public promise of destroying Israel and denying the horrors of the Holocaust. She said that such an antagonistic policy endangers her nation and Arab neighbors.
While the text of the new resolution has not been released, leaked reports talk of asking member states to exercise "vigilance and restraint" on arms imports and on the entry or transit through their territory of Iranians subject to the asset freeze. It would also require member-states not to make new commitments of "grants, financial assistance, or confessional loans" to Iran. Of course, Western nations will prefer harsher sanctions but Russia and China, with large commercial and military ties with Tehran, have been reluctant to oblige. China's U.N. Ambassador Wang Guangya has already said that he was not happy with the additional Iranians and entities that will face travel bans but concedes that "to reach agreement" there "has to be a package."