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UN Security Council prepares to ratify nuclear accord with Iran

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United Nations: The UN Security Council is preparing to ratify the nuclear accord reached between major world powers and Iran by approving a resolution that is expected to be voted on very soon.

A draft of the resolution will be written in Washington on behalf of the P5+1 – the US, Russia, China, France and Britain, plus Germany — and of the European Union, and will be sent to the council “in the coming days,” the US ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, said Tuesday.

The resolution will endorse the accord and “take other important steps, including replacing the existing Security Council sanctions architecture with the new, binding restrictions agreed on in Vienna,” Power said in a communique.

She said she will work with her colleagues on the council to make sure that this important resolution is adopted opportunely so the pact can take effect.

Negotiations_about_Iranian_Nuclear_Program_-_the_Ministers_of_Foreign_Affairs_and_Other_Officials_of_the_P5+1_and_Ministers_of_Foreign_Affairs_of_Iran_and_EU_in_Lausanne
The president of the Security Council for July, New Zealander Gerard van Bohemen, told reporters that no date has yet been set for the vote, but gave assurances that the Security Council is ready to act.

From Vienna, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the resolution will be approved in the coming days.

From here on the text should go forward without problems, given that all the countries with veto-power on the Security Council participated directly in the negotiations with Tehran.

The UN resolution is expected to reflect the periods agreed upon in Vienna for the progressive lifting of all the international sanctions on Iran, and at the same time will authorise economic reprisals in case Tehran fails to abide by the terms of the pact.

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About that possibility, Power said the accord establishes that sanctions would “snap back” in case Iran fails to comply.

The pact reached on Tuesday does not include raising the UN arms embargo, which will continue for another five years, while the one on ballistic missiles will continue for another eight years.

The UN has a committee charged with supervising adherence to the sanctions on Iran, which this year is presided over by Spain. (IANS/EFE)

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US Hits Iran with New Sanctions; Petrochemicals Targeted

Washington is pressuring Iran over its nuclear and ballistic missile program

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US, Iran, Petrochemicals
FILE - A man walks past the Mahshahr petrochemical plant in Khuzestan province, southwest of Tehran, Iran. VOA

The United States on Friday imposed new sanctions on Iran targeting the country’s petrochemical industry, including its largest petrochemical holding group, over its financial support for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Treasury Department said.

Washington is pressuring Iran over its nuclear and ballistic missile program and for waging proxy wars in other Middle Eastern countries. The new measures follow a round of sanctions imposed last month that targeted the Islamic Republic’s export revenues from industrial metals.

Tensions between the two countries worsened last month when the Trump administration ordered the deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group, bombers and Patriot missiles to the Middle East, citing intelligence about possible Iranian preparations to attack U.S. forces or interests.

The Pentagon has also accused the IRGC of being directly responsible for May 12 attacks off the United Arab Emirates coast that damaged two Saudi tankers, an Emirati vessel and a Norwegian tanker.

US, Iran, Petrochemicals
The United States on Friday imposed new sanctions on Iran targeting the country’s petrochemical industry. Pixabay

Friday’s sanctions target Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (PGPIC) for providing financial support for the economic arm of the IRGC, Iran’s elite military unit in charge of Iran’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs.

The U.S. Treasury also designated the holding group’s network of 39 subsidiary petrochemical companies and foreign-based sales agents. PGPIC and its subsidiaries hold 40% of Iran’s petrochemical production capacity and are responsible for 50% of Iran’s petrochemical exports, it said.

“By targeting this network we intend to deny funding to key elements of Iran’s petrochemical sector that provide support to the IRGC,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

The Treasury statement said Iran’s oil ministry last year awarded the IRGC’s Khatam al-Anbiya, the IRGC’s economic and engineering arm, 10 projects in oil and petrochemical industries worth $22 billion, four times the official budget of the IRGC.

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President Donald Trump last year pulled out of a 2015 agreement between Iran and world powers to curb its nuclear program in exchange for easing some sanctions, saying it did not go far enough.

The Trump administration has since taken several unprecedented steps to squeeze Iran, such as demanding the world halt all imports of Iranian oil and designating the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization, which Iran has cast as an American provocation.

U.S. law already punished U.S. persons who deal with the IRGC with up to 20 years in prison because of the group’s designation under the Specially Designated Global Terrorist list, a different sanctions program. (VOA)