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Iran Sanctions Include One Scientist and Bank, But Not Central Bank, After Months of Theatrics

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 9, updated below -- Iran nuclear sanctions came onto the UN Security Council's agenda for a vote on Wednesday morning. After months of posturing and off the record briefings, the U.S. and France seemed most smug about their accomplishment, with Russia and China bemused, their business dealings with Iran hardly impacted.

Turkey and Brazil had intervened and been rebuffed. The proponents had decided to proceed whether these two and Lebanon abstained or voted no. But as Inner City Press has asked on this site since the beginning of the process, what will the sanctions accomplish?

The annexes to the resolution, closely guarded by the Permanent Five members until just before the vote, impose sanctions on 41 additional organizations and a lone individual, Javad Rahiqi, chief of the Isfahan Nuclear Technology Center. The First East Export Bank is on, but not the Central Bank, whose inclusion China blocked. Of the Central Bank, the resolution says only to exercise vigilance.

Also on the list is Khatam al-Ahbiya Construction and other affiliates of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp or IRGC. But as non-Iranian companies are blocked from doing business in the country, the IRGC simply gains more market share.

Susan Rice, Iran's Central Bank not shown

With a crush of media penned in at the doorway of the Council chamber, the Ambassadors paraded in on Wednesday morning. Nearly all the players had promised to speak on the record to the Press after the vote. By then, of course, what they'd say would matter much less. It would be down to fact boxes and vote counts. Some had scheduled parties after the vote. But what would be accomplished?

Inner City Press will be live blogging Wednesday morning's proceedings here. Watch this space.

Update of 10:04 a.m -- Susan Rice has appeared with entourage, security, two spokesman and wearing what one wag reporter called a militarized kimono or cloak with a turquoise stripe, somehow reminiscent of a sports warm up suit, in Toronto Blue Jays colors. Less flashy, France's Araud, UK's Lyall Grant and Li Baodong of China all went in. Iran will speak -- after the vote.

Update of 10:17 a.m. -- viewed from the mezzanine of the new basement Security Council chamber, it is a UN day of pomp and circumstance. Araud of France chats with Syria's and Sudan's Ambassadors. Israel's Danny Carmone stands with Norway's Mona Juul, she of the fiery anti Ban Ki-moon memo. Ban is in Burundi...

Update of 10:39 a.m. -- clearly, we are on UN time. The vote was said to be at 10 a.m., but the meeting has yet to begin. At Russia's chair, Dolgov whispers in the ear of Vitaly Churkin, spotted Tuesday night after the Russian Language Day event in the Ex-Press Bar, handing his handwritten notes for speech to a Russian journalist. Japan's Takasu stands with his delegation. But Araud of France continues to schmooze other Ambassadors. Sudan's Perm Rep is now speaking with Libya and Iraq. Sudan is pitching a book called "The International Criminal Court is Guantanamo Bay for African Leaders," a review copy has been promised. With this much delay, might be a good time to start reading for review...

Update of 10:59 a.m. -- Inner City Press is told there will be 13 speakers but "they are talking to capitals." Our read: squeeze is being put on Turkey, Lebanon and Brazil to ratchet up from no to abstain, or even, at least for one, yes...

Update of 11:13 a.m. -- a hush has fallen over the Chamber. Susan Rice was "behind the white wall" speaking on the phone. Some fix is in, but Twitter is "overcapacity." Will live blog vote result here as soon as hands are raised -- or not.

Update of 11:19 a.m. - "Brazil will vote AGAINST the resolution... sanctions will most probably lead to suffering of the people of Iran... the case of Iraq... contrary to successful efforts of Brazil and Turkey... Tehran declaration."

Update of 11:26 a.m. - twitter's back, so

At #UN, #Turkey beats around the Bush then says Vienna Group response only hours old, so Turkey will vote AGAINST

@ #UN #Lebanon doesn't speak b/f #Iran vote, abstains. Vote is TAKEN 12 for, 2 vs, 1 abstain. #SusanRice begins: strong arming didn't work

* * *

On Iran Sanctions, As Turkey and Brazil "Vent," Vote Approaches, Choreography Finalized

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 8 -- Iran sanctions are slated to be voted on in the UN Security Council as early as June 9, but Turkey and Brazil have requested first the consideration of their nuclear deal with Tehran, which they say has not been considered. Turkey's Ambassador to the UN, emerging from the Council chamber late on June 7 told the Press that Iran, too, should be heard from before any sanctions vote.

"Let them vent," a Western diplomat told Inner City Press, predicting the vote will proceed on June 9. Another Western Council member's spokesman said all the remained to be decided was the "choreography." He predicted that the resolution's annexes would imminently be finalized and "go blue," starting the 24 hour clock to a possible vote.

But on June 8 from Tehran came the statement that the imposition of new sanctions will stop any negotiations. Analysts say that the sanctions proponents expected this. Their goal, the BBC propagated Tuesday morning, is to harm Iran's economy and undermine the regime of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Ahmadinejad in the GA, Security Council choreography not shown

Some wonder at the different approach taken to North Korea, which actually developed crude nuclear weapons, and according to South Korea sank its ship the Cheonan, killing 46 sailors aboard. Sanctions are not being sought against the regime of Kim Jong-Il, on the theory that it would only lead to worse and more bellicose behavior.

So just as banks sue small debtors but cater to those owing $100 million dollars, the Security Council sanctions those who still negotiate while running scared of the real outlaw states. What message does it send?

Inner City Press will be covering the June 8 Security Council action in real time, stay tuned.

Update of 1:44 p.m. -- Emerging from the morning's UNSC consultations, US Ambassador Susan Rice said a "strong" resolution will be passed tomorrow. She did not respond when asked if non affirmative votes, presumably by Turkey, Brazil and perhaps Lebanon, would weaken the resolution. Sources say that the annexes contain, along with organizations, a lone individual, whose name is not yet known.

There will be a "closed" debate, with non Council members, at 3 p.m., and for now a vote on the resolution at 10 a.m. tomorrow. Watch this site.

Update of 4:49 p.m. -- the closed debate is over. Susan Rice took two questions, on whether the sanctions are binding. She called the financial aspects of the resolution "groundbreaking." But would they bar, for example, Chinese investment in Iran's energy industry?

More informative was a self-described "Turkish diplomat," who said Turkey had been frustrated by how its and Brazil's deal with Tehran was treated by the Council. He was asked if the US is asking Turkey to abstain rather than vote no. This is diplomacy, he said. But could there be a trade off involving the US's position on the investigation of Israel's assault on the flotilla to Gaza?

The Turkish diplomat said that when they voted for the flotilla resolution, it was there understanding it had to be a UN-led investigation, on the theory that no investigation by Israel -- "a party" -- could be impartial. The US' Alejandro Wolff that night said the US thought Israel would take the lead.

Could Turkey's position on Iran sanction switch from opposition to abstention in exchange for US support for a UN-lead flotilla investigation?

* * *

UN Council Considers Iran Debate Before Wednesday Vote, Deliberate on Cheonan Ship

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 7, updated -- With the push on for the Security Council to adopt nuclear sanctions against Iran, Turkey and Brazil on Monday convened consultations to ask for a formal debate before the sanctions vote. Inner City Press asked if the request was for non-Council members, like Syria for example, to be able to speak. We'll tell you when we come out, more than one entrant said.

One of these entrants came out at 5 p.m. and predicted to the Press that the Iran sanctions vote will be Wednesday. While Hillary Clinton is slated to speak about Iran with her Brazilian counterpart at the Organization of American States meeting in Peru, the proponents of the sanctions seemed resigned to non affirmative votes by Turkey, Brazil and perhaps Lebanon.

Later it was announced that the Council will hold more consultations on Iran, this time on the resolution itself, on the morning of June 8. The resolution text is "in blue" but the annexes are not. While on the previous North Korea nuclear resolution, the annexes were left for the Sanctions Committee to do, that requires consensus which would be blocked in this instance by... Turkey, Brazil and perhaps Lebanon.

  Susan Rice emerged at 5:34 p.m., wouldn't confirm a Wednesday vote -- whatever everyone else wants, she said genially -- and ended with "this week."

US' Susan Rice and Alex Wolff, UK's Lyall Grant, annexes not shown

The US was represented for once by its two top diplomats, Susan Rice and Alejandro Wolff. Unlike all other Ambassadors they arrived with a security presence. Reporters lounged around in their designated pen, where they'd convened in the morning for a meeting on North Korea.

On the sinking of the Cheonan ship, there's a request for another meeting. A self-described Western diplomat said that the Security Council will deal with the issue as deliberately as the "multinational" / South Korean investigators did. We will continue to live blog what's left of these consultations: watch this space.

Update of 5:50 p.m. -- Council President Heller emerged, declined to go on camera, said that Tuesday a political discussion but definitely a vote "this week."

Update of 5:50 p.m. -- Council President Heller emerged, declined to go on camera, said that Tuesday a political discussion but definitely a vote "this week."

Update of 6:27 p.m. -- Brazil's Ambassador came out. We want to have a political debate, she said. Tomorrow will be a "stage" in this process. Oh, the theatrics. Why do you want a debate, a reporter shouted out. Because so far it has been all technical. We do not want to debate just the resolution, but the wider context. Wednesday vote? She walked up the stairs.

Update of 6:44 p.m. -- Turkey's Ambassador came out, and at least stopped to speak with the Press. It is all under discussion, though, is what he said, it would not be appropriate to comment. Inner City Press switched gears and asked for Turkey's view on the flotilla investigation proposed by Ban Ki-moon. My understanding is the Secretary General is proceeding, he said. And then he was gone, the stakeout and this interim story over. 10-4

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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