Iran General NewsRussia says new strategies aimed at Iran

Russia says new strategies aimed at Iran

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AP: Russia’s U.N. ambassador said Wednesday the confrontational approach to Iran over its nuclear program has changed to a new strategy of offering Tehran broad incentives to suspend uranium enrichment. Associated Press

By EDITH M. LEDERER

Associated Press Writer

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – Russia’s U.N. ambassador said Wednesday the confrontational approach to Iran over its nuclear program has changed to a new strategy of offering Tehran broad incentives to suspend uranium enrichment.

Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said the change came about after the meetings Monday and Tuesday involving the foreign ministers of Russia, the United States, China, Britain, France and Germany.

“The mood has changed completely,” Churkin said.

He said the key nations are now focusing on putting together a package of incentives to try to achieve a peaceful solution instead of talking about how many days Iran should be given to halt enrichment or face possible further measures including sanctions.

“We are quite pleased that what started basically as something which could be seen as trying to dictate matters has turned into a process of dialogue, broad dialogue which hopefully will involve Iran, and which will bring a political and diplomatic solution to the problem,” he said.

But Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad scorned Western concerns over its nuclear program “as a big lie” despite the new approach by the key Security Council members to present Tehran with a choice of incentives or sanctions in deciding whether to suspend uranium enrichment.

“They pretend that they are concerned about the nature of the nuclear program of the Islamic republic of Iran,” Ahmadinejad said In Jakarta, Indonesia.

The Russians and Chinese have balked at British, French and U.S. efforts to put a new U.N. resolution requiring Iran to suspend uranium enrichment under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which would declare Iran a threat to international peace and security. That would set the stage for further measures if Tehran refuses to halt enrichment that could include diplomatic, military or economic sanctions and military action.

Churkin said a revised resolution will include the package of incentives and spell out the two directions that Iran can take.

U.S. Ambassador John Bolton – who before the ministerial meeting wanted a vote on the resolution with or without Russian and Chinese support – said Wednesday the possibility of getting the five permanent veto-wielding council members to agree on a resolution “is very important” and that’s the aim of the new initiative spelling out incentives and disincentives.

The British, French and Germans, who cut off more than two years of negotiations with Iran earlier this year after Tehran said it would resume its enrichment activities, are working on the package and Churkin said Russia would all be involved.

Political directors of the six countries are scheduled to meet in London on May 19 to try to agree on the measures, said France’s U.N. Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere, whose country co-sponsored the resolution with Britain.

European officials said the package is likely to include provisions for Iran to have a civilian nuclear energy program without enrichment, to ensure the country’s energy security and trade benefits.

Asked about the package, China’s U.N. Ambassador Wang Guangya called it “a good idea because we are talking about carrot and sticks, so there have to be carrots.”

Churkin said “Iran needs to be cooperative and … stop seeing an enemy in the Security Council.”

“They should not be looking at the process in any kind of a confrontational mode, because the process is not confrontational to them,” he said.

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