The United Nations Security Council acted unanimously on Saturday to impose a set of nuclear technology sanctions against Iran, capping a year of efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation in a country that has already made significant advances in uranium enrichment.
The 15-nation council adopted the sanctions contained in a resolution that it hopes would dry out Iran's imports of much-needed materials to continue its uranium enrichment activities. The council's five permanent members - the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain - and Germany fear that Iran would one day be able to produce nuclear weapons.
The resolution calls on governments to "prevent the supply, sale or transfer, directly or indirectly from their territories ... of all items, materials, equipment, goods and technology which could contribute to Iran's enrichment-related, reprocessing or heavy water-related activities, or to the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems."
The resolution dropped a travel ban as part of the sanctions at the insistence of Russia. Instead, the council would name Iranian individuals whose overseas travels would be monitored and companies that deal with Iran in the field of nuclear technology.
It calls on all states not to provide to Iran technical assistance or training, financial assistance, investment, or transfer of financial resources or services related to the supply, sale, and transfer of nuclear-related technology.
It calls on all states to immediately freeze assets, financial assets and economic resources owned or controlled by Iranians who directly associated with or provide support for Iran's "proliferation sensitive activities and the development of a nuclear weapon delivery system". A sanctions committee of the council would name individuals whose financial activities would be monitored.
All states are called to exercise "vigilance" and prevent specialised teaching or training of Iranian nationals in their territories, which could contribute to Iran's nuclear proliferation.
Iran is warned that "further appropriate measures" under the UN Charter would be used if the country fails "without further delay to suspend proliferation sensitive nuclear activities", which it says include enrichment-related and reprocessing activities.
The council says if Iran were to comply with UN demands to halt its nuclear activities, such a step would contribute to a diplomatic and negotiated solution guaranteeing that Iran's nuclear programmes are exclusively for peaceful purposes.
The council asks the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna to verify compliance and report to the council.
Before the council's adoption of the sanctions, Iran's parliament speaker Gholamali Haddadadei warned in Tehran that Iran would retaliate if the sanctions were to be adopted in New York by the council.
"If they intend to deprive the Iranian nation of its nuclear technology by a resolution, parliament will reconsider the nature of its relationship with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)," the speaker was quoted as saying by the state television.