The United Nations Security Council has unanimously voted to impose sanctions against Iran over its failure to halt uranium enrichment. The sanctions ban the supply of nuclear-related technology and materials and impose an asset freeze on key individuals and companies. The US representative warned that Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons would make it less, not more, secure. Iran says its programme is for peaceful purposes and has vowed to continue.The resolution demands that Tehran end all uranium enrichment work, which can produce fuel for nuclear plants as well as for bombs.

The vote by the 15-member council took place exactly two months after Britain, France and Germany first introduced a draft resolution proposing sanctions.

The draft resolution was amended several times after objections from both the Russians and Chinese.

But after parts of the resolution were watered down, both Russia and China – who have close financial ties with Iran – backed the proposals.

Full piece here. Meanwhile, the U.S. is sending the gift of a carrier group to show Iran it means business:

WASHINGTON — The US command responsible for Middle East operations has asked the Pentagon to add a second aircraft carrier to the Gulf region as a warning to Syria and Iran and to help it carry out other operations, a senior defense official said yesterday.

The war-fighting Central Command wants the carrier strike group and its warplanes by the end of March for “deterrence” and to increase “flexibility,” including for potential noncombat operations, said the official who asked not be to be named.

“It gives them [the Central Command] the flexibility to move around,” she said. “And it does send a message.”

Full piece here.

Merry Christmas, Iran.