19 May 2010

UN heavyweights stepping up pressure on Iran

4:29 pm on 19 May 2010

A new draft resolution before the United Nations Security Council calls for a big expansion in sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme.

The resolution, introduced by the United States, has the backing of the other four permanent members of the council - China, Russia, Britain and France.

It calls for the international inspection of vessels suspected of bringing Iran material for nuclear or missile programmes.

The announcement of agreement on the draft came a day after Iran announced a deal with Turkey under which nuclear material will be exchanged for enriched uranium in Turkey.

The deal was similar to one proposed by the West and its allies last year, but the American secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, says Iran is trying to deflect international pressure.

The BBC reports Russia and China have previously resisted calls for a new round of sanctions.

The draft resolution, which proposes measures like cargo ship inspections and banking controls, is now being circulated among all 15 members of the Security Council.