The United Nations Security Council passed new sanctions against Iran, setting the stage for new and tougher U.S. sanctions.
The vote Wednesday was a victory for U.S.-led efforts to garner international support for isolating the regime until it makes its nuclear program more transparent.
Key to its passage was the support of China and Russia, both major traders with Iran and veto-wielding members of the council.
The resolution expands existing sanctions and creates a basis in international law for nations to target Iran’s energy and banking sectors.
That sets the stage for the U.S. Congress to pass sanctions that would target third-party entities – companies, individuals and states – that deal with Iran’s energy sector.
U.S. Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee and a lead sponsor of the expanded sanctions legislation, said it would pass Congress by the end of this month. Berman called on other nations to do the same.
“We now look to the European Union and other key nations that share our deep concern about Iran’s nuclear intentions to build on the Security Council resolution by imposing tougher national measures that will deepen Iran’s isolation and, hopefully, bring the Iranian leadership to its sense,” he said.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee applauded the new sanctions and echoed Berman’s call. “We call on our government and our allies – including the European Union – to imediately implement complementary and crippling sanctions, as authorized by this resolution, to stop Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability before it is too late,” it said in a statement.
Of the council’s 15 members, 12 voted in support. Turkey and Brazil voted against; Lebanon abstained.
Turkey and Brazil had negotiated a deal with Iran to enrich some of its uranium outside its borders as a means of tracking its nuclear program. The United States and other major powers rejected that deal because it left Iran with enough uranium to make at least one bomb.
Iran maintains a presence in Lebanon through its ally Hezbollah.