World

UN imposes sanctions on Iran

The UN Security Council unanimously agreed Saturday to impose sanctions on Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment that, according to the U.S., is aimed at building weapons.

Following two months of debate, the UN Security Council voted unanimously on Saturday to impose sanctionsagainst Iran for its nuclear program.

The resolution — the latest version drafted on Friday by Britain, France and Germany — aims to stop Iran from enriching uranium, which could be used to build nuclear weapons.

It orders all countries to ban the sale of technology and materials that could be used in Iran's nuclear and missile programs. If Iran refuses to comply, the resolution warnsthe countrythat the council will adopt further non-military sanctions.

Shortly after the vote was announced, Iran rejected the resolution and said it would continue enriching uranium.

"Bringing Iran's peaceful nuclear program to the council by a few of its permanent members, particularly the United States, is not aimed at, nor will it help, seeking the solution or encouraging negotiations," said Javad Zarif, Iran's ambassador to the United Nations.

Talks about possible sanctions began after Iran ignored an Aug. 31 deadline to suspend enrichment.

Support for the resolution from China and Russia, two of the 15 council members, was in question heading into Saturday's vote. The initial draft was watered down during negotiations, mainly to win Russia's vote. Russia is building a reactor for a nuclear power plant in southern Iran.

Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, outlined his country's position before the crucial vote.

"Activities which are completely legal, valid and have nothing to do with the risk of non-proliferation can be conducted without any hindrance or interference."

Churkin said Moscow agreed to sanctions because it wanted Iran "to lift remaining concerns over its nuclear program."

He stressed that the goal must be to resume talks. If Iran suspends enrichment and reprocessing, the resolution calls for a suspension of sanctions, "which would pave the way for a negotiated solution," Churkin said.

With files from the Associated Press

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