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. Elements of new UN sanctions package agreed by six major powers
UNITED NATIONS, Jan 25 (AFP) Jan 26, 2008
New UN sanctions on Iran agreed by six major powers include an outright ban on travel by officials involved in the country's nuclear and missile programs, according to a text obtained by AFP Friday.

The text contains elements of a new sanctions draft resolution agreed by foreign ministers of the five veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- plus Germany in Berlin Tuesday.

The text was submitted to all 15 members of the UN Security Council Friday. Council diplomats said approval by the council was likely to take several weeks.

A meeting of the 15 ambassadors to review the text, scheduled for Friday, was postponed until next Monday because of the council's heavy schedule.

The elements agreed in Berlin are to form the basis of a third set of economic and trade sanctions against Iran for defying Security Council demands to stop uranium enrichment activities that the West fears could be used to make a nuclear bomb.

The text decides that all states shall take the necessary measures "to prevent the entry or transit through their territories" of individuals linked with Iran's nuclear and missile programs. An earlier resolution approved by the Security Council last March had merely called on countries to do so.

It would also urge all states to "inspect cargoes to and from Iran...provided there are reasonable grounds to believe that the aircraft/vessel is transporting goods prohibited under this resolution."

The six major powers also proposed extending an assets freeze to additional Iranian officials listed in an annex to the resolution and banning the supply, sale or transfer of dual-use (civilian-military) items.

Their text would call "upon states to exercise vigilance in entering into new commitments for public provided financial support for trade with Iran, including the granting of export credits, guarantees or insurance to their nationals involved in such trade."

It would urge vigilance over the activities of financial institutions in their territories with all banks domiciled in Iran, in particular Bank Melli and Bank Saderat and their branches and subsidiaries based abroad.

It would also direct UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei to report within 90 days whether the Islamic Republic has fully suspended all sensitive nuclear fuel activities as demanded in previous council resolutions.

Britain, France and Germany have been spearheading efforts to negotiate an end to the nuclear standoff with Iran, which denies Western charges that it is seeking a nuclear weapons capability under the guise of its civilian nuclear program.

Wednesday, Iran, which argues that it has the right to conduct uranium enrichment as a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, dismissed as illegal and ineffective the threat of new UN sanctions.

It said it would clear up any remaining questions about its nuclear program in talks with the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency.

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