Security Council May Impose Arms Embargo on Iran

NEW YORK - The five permanent United Nation Security Council members and Germany are drafting a new resolution against Iran which may for the first time include all UN members in a weapons embargo on Tehran.

Sources in New York estimated yesterday that Russia - strongly opposed to the draft initiated by the United States - might go along with the resolution if it is restricted to an embargo on Iran's export of weapons.

Efforts are underway to reach an agreement regarding Iran's import of weapons. The new resolution would request UN members to remain alert and implement tight oversight and inspection to foil Iranian attempts to procure weapons.

Sources in the UN estimated that a final draft of the new resolution will be brought up for discussion in the Security Council no sooner than the end of March.

The new resolution draft is a reaction to Iran's refusal to abide by resolution 1737, passed last December, demanding that it halt its uranium enrichment program. Britain's ambassador to the UN, James Perry, said Tuesday that the resolution would supplement and tighten the financial sanctions imposed on Iran in the previous resolution.

The new resolution is expected to include restrictions on Iranian trade with the U.S. In addition, the number of Iranian officials restricted from visiting various countries is expected to be increased. Under the new resolution, the possessions and assets of further officials involved with the Iranian nuclear program are expected to be frozen.

Sources in New York say the weapons embargo on Iran would have a significant influence on the Islamic Republic's relations with Syria. "Iran would probably continue to supply Syria with weapons, some of which are transferred to Hezbollah," said a senior Western diplomat yesterday. "Under the new resolution, the shipments would constitute a blatant violation of the embargo imposed by the council."

As in the previous resolution, the new one is expected to include an ultimatum for Iran to abide by the council's decision and halt the uranium enrichment program. The U.S. wants this extension to last 30 days, but Moscow's UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, said the ultimatum would last for 60 days.