A resolution aimed at imposing new sanctions on Iran for its controversial nuclear programme will be tabled "very soon" in the UN Security Council, according to the President of the world's body top organ.
"We expect to see very soon the final text that can be put to a vote," Claude Heller, the UNSC President for this month, told reporters, indicating that this could happen within the next ten days.
Heller, also the Mexican Ambassador to the UN, said "my understanding is that the co-sponsors of the resolution would like to have prompt action by Security Council."
The UNSC President also noted that since the US had presented the Security Council members with the draft resolution in mid-May, there had been several rounds of deliberations at the expert level. The draft resolution creates new categories of sanctions and includes: banning Iran's investment in nuclear activity abroad, banning all ballistic missiles activities, blocking Iran's use of banks aboard, seeking asset freeze for members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and setting up of a UN panel of experts to enforce sanction implementation.
The US needs nine votes in total for the resolution to pass in the Security Council providing none of the five permanent members exercise their veto. Both Russia and China, which have previously raised objections against such sanctions, have conveyed that they are, so far, satisfied with the text of the resolution.
The US case for sanctions is further strengthened by the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency that found that Iran had produced fuel, which if further enriched would be enough to build two nuclear weapons. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said yesterday that Tehran was ready to sit down with the West to work out a written agreement on a nuclear fuel swap declaration, according to the Iranian Press TV.
"We are ready to negotiate with the Vienna group (the IAEA, the US, Russia and France) in order to draw up a written agreement," Mottaki told his Belgian counterpart Steven Vanackere in Brussels.
After attending the NPT review conference at the UN headquarters in May, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned that a fresh round of sanctions against his country will close the door on improving relations with the US. "This is nothing new. For 31 years sanctions have been placed on us," Ahmadinejad said.
The US and its Western allies along with Israel fear that Iran is trying to build a nuclear bomb. Tehran, denying these allegations, insists that its nuclear programme is only for peaceful purposes.