Iran Nuclear NewsDelay seen at U.N. on drafting Iran sanctions text

Delay seen at U.N. on drafting Iran sanctions text

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Reuters: Major powers working on a U.N. resolution to impose new sanctions on Iran probably will not complete a draft text by the end of the week as expected, diplomats said after another round of talks on Tuesday. By Evelyn Leopold

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Major powers working on a U.N. resolution to impose new sanctions on Iran probably will not complete a draft text by the end of the week as expected, diplomats said after another round of talks on Tuesday.

The new resolution is a follow-up to one adopted by the Security Council on December 23 that imposed trade sanctions on sensitive nuclear materials and technology and froze assets of key Iranians individuals, groups and businesses.

The council had given Tehran 60 days to halt nuclear enrichment or face additional measures.

The United States and leading European countries suspect Iran is seeking to build nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian atomic program. Tehran denies the charge and says its program is for generating electricity only.

Despite three rounds of talks by telephone last week among senior foreign ministry officials from the six nations — the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany — Tuesday’s meeting did not achieve agreement yet.

“After two days of discussions, the capitals will reflect what to do next. And then maybe something comes back to New York after tomorrow (Wednesday),” said China’s U.N. Ambassador, Wang Guangya.

Another diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it appeared a draft resolution would not be completed this week, although the 10 elected members of the 15-nation Security Council expected one before then.

South Africa’s Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo told reporters he would be “very disappointed” if the draft were not circulated soon so the full council could get involved.

“There’s a general agreement on what the elements are and on some of them I think there’s a good understanding of where we might be heading but it’s too early to say we have reached agreement,” the American negotiator, Ambassador Alejandro Wolff, told reporters.

Both Wang and Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin have said the new resolution would give Iran 60 days to comply with demands that it halt its nuclear enrichment work, which can provide fuel for power plants or for bombs.

“We’re making steady progress,” said British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry. “We’re moving incrementally on the subject.”

Kumalo said he was told the “elements” were a mandatory travel ban on Iranian officials involved in the nuclear and ballistic missile program, as well as more names and entities added to the list of those whose assets would be frozen abroad and who would be forbidden to travel.

Also under consideration, he said, was broadening the list of materials and technology Iran could not import or export.

Negotiators have also discussed restricting export credits provided by governments to companies doing business in Iran. Washington has pushed for Europe to end such credits.

“It talks about vigilance and restraints, so we have to see the implications of it,” Wang said.

Germany’s U.N. Ambassador, Thomas Matussek, said on Monday: “We do not want to hurt our small and medium-sized enterprises … so we have to calibrate it in a way that we can get the message across.”

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