The valuable, insidery Security Council report just put out an alert suggesting that a vote on a new round of Security Council sanctions on Iran can be expected as early as tomorrrow. Unlike the three previous sanctions resolutions on Iran, however, it is unlikely that the resolution will pass unanimously. From the Security Council Report:
It seems at this stage that the only issue is whether Brazil and Turkey (and perhaps Lebanon) will maintain their opposition to imposing new sanctions on Iran. Brazil and Turkey made considerable efforts to obtain agreement on a fuel swap plan and believe that it is a mistake to impose additional sanctions on Iran after Iran demonstrated willingness to negotiate on this matter.
Options for the Council include:
* adopting a resolution imposing new sanctions on Iran that includes amendments proposed by elected members; or
* some compromise involving the adoption of a new sanctions resolution but in a manner which would allow some additional time to see if the fuel swap plan brokered by Brazil and Turkey might lead to substantive negotiations with Iran on its nuclear programme (at this stage this looks like a much less likely option).
The new measures will include a prohibition of sales on a wide range of conventional weapons — from fighter planes to missile systems — as well as a ban on countries from providing harbor to ships suspected of carrying contraband goods headed to Iran.
Overall they are significantly weaker than earlier drafts circulated by the Obama administration. Many provisions contain loopholes allowing countries to evade their intent: The measures only urge, rather than require, countries to comply.
It is generally politically useful (though not legally required) that these kinds of resolutions pass unanimously. Lebanon is run by a coalition government that includes Iran-backed and American-supported elements, so chances are Lebanon will abstain. For reasons cited above, Turkey and Brazil will likely oppose the resolution. As far as these things go, this is a fairly dramatic vote. Stay tuned.