Washington Planning UN Arms Embargo Against Iran

The Bush administration is planning to propose a new resolution against Iran at the United Nations Security Council that will call for stepping up sanctions against Tehran in an effort to thwart its nuclear ambitions. The U.S. will seek to include a partial embargo on arms sales in the resolution, with particular emphasis on the types of weapons that can be used by terrorists, political sources in Jerusalem said yesterday.

There is great expectation in the U.S. for the periodic report of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Iran's failure to abide by previous Security Council resolutions ordering Tehran to cease uranium enrichment. The report by the director general of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, is expected today or tomorrow, and it will be followed by deliberations among the powers for the formulation of a new resolution. The Jerusalem-based sources said that there is no chance for a total arms embargo on Iran, because of Russian opposition to it. Russia has sold air-defense missiles to Iran for the defense of its nuclear installations.

In recent weeks, Israel has carried out a diplomatic campaign against the transfer of weapons to terrorist organizations, in an effort to establish this concept as part of a new international norm. At the center of the campaign lie the transfer of arms from Iran and Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon, that are viewed to be an expression of Tehran's policy of aggression.

"Iran's conduct in Lebanon is proof of the dangerous implications of a nuclear arsenal in its hands," political sources in Jerusalem said yesterday.

The head of the planning directorate at the IDF, Maj. Gen. Idan Nehushtan, visited Washington last week and presented American officials with data on the transfer of arms from Iran and Syria to Hezbollah.

Nehushtan presented the U.S. officials with evidence from the second Lebanon war and showed that all those involved in the arms transfers continue to operate and the routes for arms deliveries to Hezbollah remain unchanged.

The embargo imposed against arms transfers to Hezbollah in the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 that also brought a cease-fire in the war, is not being enforced. The head of research at Military Intelligence, Brigadier Yossi Beidetz, told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday that the Hezbollah is now stronger than it was prior to the war. A senior intelligence official at the Pentagon told the Senate about a month ago, that Hezbollah has replenished the arsenal it possessed on the eve of the war in July, 2006.

Last week, a Foreign Ministry delegation headed by the deputy director for strategic affairs, Miriam Ziv, presented data on the arms transfers to Hezbollah to senior officials in the German Foreign Ministry. The Germans expressed some reservations about the validity of the data.

Israel's ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Yitzhak Levanon, presented the Israeli approach during his address at the opening of the annual session of the UN disarmament commission. "The issue of arms transfers to terrorists is critical from a strategic point of view today, more than in the past, because of the quality, the quantity and the sophistication of the weapons."