RAY SUAREZ: We’re now joined by the United States ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice.
Ambassador, welcome to the program.
SUSAN RICE, United States ambassador to the United Nations: Thanks, Ray. Good to be with you.
RAY SUAREZ: Now, this, as we have reported, is the fourth set of sanctions against Iran in this latest round. How does this take it further? Where — where — what’s new in this set of packages approved today?
SUSAN RICE: Well, Ray, this is actually a very tough and comprehensive resolution the Security Council passed by a very strong majority today.
It builds very substantially on the previous resolutions in a number of ways. Let me tell you about a few of them. The first: Iran will now be banned from investing abroad in any projects that — that could benefit its nuclear program, including uranium enrichment or uranium mining activities.
Secondly, Iran is banned from any activity related to ballistic missiles that could carry nuclear weapons, something of importance to us and to Iran’s neighbors. It is banned, also, from importing significant new categories of weapons.
And there will be a much greater degree of restraint imposed on the sale of any weapons to Iran. Some 40 companies closely associated with the Iranian regime, including 15 belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, will have their assets frozen and be unable to operate.
There will be a very strict regime of inspections of potentially contraband cargo going to and from Iran that could — that would violate sanctions, the arms embargo, or the — facilitate its nuclear program or proliferation activities.
So, states would be asked and required to inspect, on their land, in their ports, on sea, such cargo that may be suspicious. There are very tough new financial and commercial sanctions on any transactions, including insurance, re-insurance, correspondent banking that could possibly be used to benefit Iran’s nuclear or proliferation-related activities.
There are a series of new measures, and including some additional enforcement measures, within this resolution that substantially strengthen the regime against Iran and make it now, in — even in contrast to North Korea, the toughest sanctions regime in the world today, as a result of the resolution that was passed.
RAY SUAREZ: Well, let’s talk some more about enforcement, because, with a steady stream of ready money from its petroleum exports, Iran has proven itself in the past to be able to evade sanctions that the rest of the world has put on it.
SUSAN RICE: It has, to a certain extent, succeeded in evading sanctions. This will tighten the noose with a new inspections regime, as I just explained, new restrictions on its financing and commercial activities, and the establishment of an enforcement body within the U.N. that will investigate and bring to the attention of the Security Council and expose and punish Iran for any actions that it’s caught doing that violate these resolutions.
I also should mention, Ray, that the United States today made an important announcement by appointing Ambassador Robert Einhorn, who is a special adviser, senior official in the State Department, and giving him responsibility for implementation of — of the sanctions regime against both Iran and North Korea, so that the U.S. enforcement will be and — and vigilance will be increased and substantially strengthened.
The other point to make, Ray, is that the Security Council resolution today was broad-based. It was comprehensive. It was very strong. But we also expect that states will take their own actions beyond the Security Council resolution in the weeks and months ahead that will implement this resolution and build upon it in a fashion that strengthens even further the international regime against Iran.
One indication of the importance of this resolution and the fact that it has real teeth and real bite is the extent to which the Iranians have worked for months and months behind the scenes diplomatically, spending money, trying to buy votes and change the outcome, so as to avoid the imposition of a new set of sanctions.
The Iranians know that the measures in this resolution will hurt and will severely constrain their ability to pursue their nuclear and proliferation activities. And that’s why they worked so hard to try to defeat it. And, today, they failed.
RAY SUAREZ: Significantly, permanent five members China and Russia voted with the United States, but NATO ally Turkey and hemispheric friend Brazil did not. Is that a problem?
SUSAN RICE: It’s unfortunate, but it is not unexpected.
Turkey and Brazil differed with the rest of the Security Council and the rest of the international community, largely over timing and tactics. They said today in the council what they have said previously, which is that they share the aim of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.
That said, their leaders went out on a limb and tried to cut an 11th-hour deal with Iran which the rest of the international community thought wasn’t sufficient to address the underlying concerns of the Security Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency. It didn’t deal directly with Iran’s enrichment activities.
It was an effort that built on what had been a previous effort at confidence-building, and it didn’t succeed in persuading the rest of the Security Council that the time was — had come for sanctions. And, so, having gone out on that limb, Turkey and Brazil made the decision to stand by their agreement and to try to, in their view, give diplomacy more time.
The reason why I think it’s unfortunate is because the — the Security Council has long stood by what we call a dual track approach of pressure and engagement. The Security Council, nor the United States, nor the other members slammed the door today on diplomacy. They did nothing of the sort.
But they said that, for diplomacy to remain meaningful, Iran had to see very starkly the choice it faced. It could pay a price, as it did today, and face increased isolation if it continues on the negative course that it’s on, or it can come to the negotiating table in earnest and deal with its nuclear program, in which case there is the prospect of the listing of sanctions, should it suspend its nuclear activities and meet the other requirements of the Security Council.
RAY SUAREZ: Ambassador Susan Rice from New York, thanks for talking to us.
SUSAN RICE: Good to be with you, Ray.