Draft Iran sanctions plan would punish elite force and large Iranian bank

A draft plan for new UN sanctions against Iran would punish a branch of the Iranian armed forces and one of that nation's largest banks, despite last week's US re-evaluation of Iran's nuclear weapons intentions, US officials said Monday. A preliminary sanctions plan drafted by France is under consideration by leading members of the UN Security Council, one official said. The United States, which has been pressing for continued sanctions pressure on Iran, supports the package. Diplomats from the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany are to discuss the draft by telephone on Tuesday. If passed by the Security Council the plan would slap a third round of sanctions on Iran for defying demands by the United Nations that it roll back and explain its nuclear program. Iran claims its nuclear development is peaceful, but until last week the United States and Western allies had countered that Iran was hiding plans for a bomb. The latest US intelligence assessment of Iran, however, says the Islamic republic once had a bomb program but shelved it four years ago.