Iran's nuclear fuel swap deal with Turkey and Brazil notwithstanding, the US on Wednesday presented to the UN Security Council a draft resolution on imposing fresh sanctions on Tehran.
Following a preliminary meeting between the members of the UNSC, Susan Rice, US ambassador to the UN said the goal of the sanctions "is to increase the cost to Iran's leadership for their continued defiance of the international community".
"The draft seeks to support and not replace our efforts to engage Iran diplomatically," she added.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced on Tuesday that the US had reached an agreement with Russia and China on the fourth round of sanctions on Iran for not meeting its international obligations on its nuclear programme.
The draft resolution creates new categories of sanctions and includes banning Iran's investment in nuclear activity abroad, banning all ballistic missiles activities, cargo inspection, blocking Iran's use of banks aboard, asset freezes for members of the Revolutionary Guard Corps and setting up a UN panel of experts to enforce sanction implementation.
"We have reached agreement on a strong draft with the cooperation of both Russia and China," Clinton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday.
The US needs nine votes in total for the resolution to pass in the Security Council providing none of the permanent members exercise their veto.
Noting that the sanctions did not hurt Iran's people, Russia expressed support for the sanctions.
"We believe it is adequate language, a language that is acceptable to us, language that we can live with because it is focused adequately on non-proliferation matters and it is not supposed to create any problems for normal economic activity in Iran," said Vitaly Churkin, Russian ambassador to the UN.
At the same time, both China and Russia expressed strong support for the nuclear fuel swap brokered by Brazil and Turkey under which Iran agreed to ship its low-enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for fuel for its medical reactors.
"It is not the end of the road," said Churkin, noting that the next few weeks would be spent in discussions with non-permanent members.
Li Baodong, China's envoy to the UN, highlighted that the deal inked between Iran, Turkey and Brazil was a "very very positive" development that needed to be welcomed by the international community.