Iran Nuclear NewsU.N. has no objections to Iran speech

U.N. has no objections to Iran speech

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AP: Security Council members have raised no objections to a request from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak right before they vote on a resolution that would impose new sanctions on Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment, the council president said Friday. Associated Press

By EDITH M. LEDERER

Associated Press Writer

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – Security Council members have raised no objections to a request from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak right before they vote on a resolution that would impose new sanctions on Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment, the council president said Friday.

South Africa’s U.N. Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo, the council president for March, said he sent the request from Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Javad Zarif to the 14 other council nations on Thursday “and we haven’t received one objection at all, so … I’m assuming it’s going to happen.”

“The difficulty is we don’t know when that would be,” he said.

Kumalo said no date has been set for a vote. The five permanent Security Council members – the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France – and Germany agreed on the draft resolution Thursday and sent it to the 10 elected members.

The agreement by the six world powers on the modest sanctions package culminated more than two weeks of negotiations, but it also engendered bruised feelings among the non-permanent members who were left out of the debate.

“We haven’t even discussed the resolution,” Kumalo said. “How can we go to a vote? We were told – we were assured that we would not be a rubber stamp. If it’s a question of six people write the resolution and the rest of us raise our hand to vote, then maybe they don’t even need the rest of us.”

The agreement by the five veto-wielding nations, however, means the draft resolution is likely to get unanimous approval by the council.

The full council isn’t scheduled to discuss the draft until Wednesday afternoon though Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry, who introduced it, asked that it be moved up to Tuesday.

“That created a problem,” Kumalo said, and the council decided to stick to Wednesday – “but we may revisit this on Monday again.”

The request for Ahmadinejad to speak to the U.N.’s most powerful body took some members by surprise because he has said the Security Council has “no legitimacy” and vowed to ignore any sanctions.

Iran insists its enrichment program is peaceful and aimed only at producing nuclear energy, but the U.S., Europe, and the U.N. nuclear watchdog fear Tehran’s goal is to produce nuclear weapons.

The proposed new sanctions would ban Iranian arms exports and freeze the assets of 28 additional individuals and organizations involved in the country’s nuclear and missile programs – about a third linked to Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard.

The package also calls for voluntary restrictions on travel by the individuals subject to sanctions and on new financial assistance or loans to the Iranian government.

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