UNITED NATIONS - The U.S. and its allies scored a long-sought victory yesterday by pushing through new U.N. sanctions over Iran's nuclear program, punishments Tehran dismissed as "annoying flies, like a used tissue."
The sanctions target Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard, ballistic missiles and nuclear-related investments. Oil exports, the lifeblood of Iran's economy, are not affected because targeting them would have cost the U.S. essential support from Russia and China.
President Obama said the sanctions are the toughest Iran has ever faced. They required several months of difficult negotiations by the five veto-wielding permanent U.N. Security Council members - the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France - and non-member Germany. This is the fourth round of sanctions aimed at getting Iran into serious discussions on its nuclear ambitions.
"Actions do have consequences, and today the Iranian government will face some of those consequences," Obama said. He left the door open to diplomacy but said Iran "will find itself more isolated, less prosperous and less secure" unless it meets its nuclear nonproliferation obligations.