Washington Times: The world’s nuclear powers agreed yesterday to expand U.N. sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program in a compromise Security Council draft resolution that is expected to stop short of imposing economic penalties. The Washington Times
By Nicholas Kralev
BERLIN The world’s nuclear powers agreed yesterday to expand U.N. sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program in a compromise Security Council draft resolution that is expected to stop short of imposing economic penalties.
The new measure will “increase the severity” of previous travel and financial restrictions on Iranian officials and others associated with the regime in Tehran, a senior U.S. official said after the foreign ministers of the five permanent council members met in Berlin.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her counterparts from Britain, France, Russia, China and the host, Germany, reached the agreement after months of discord that was partially tied to Washington’s new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran’s past nuclear behavior.
Diplomats from the six countries had been working on a draft document for weeks, with strong objections to some of the proposed measures from Moscow and Beijing, which have close economic and trade ties with Tehran.
The forthcoming resolution will follow two others adopted under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter that punishes countries for causing a threat to international peace and security.
“Today, we together agreed on the content of such a new resolution,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters. “Germany, France and Britain will submit a draft resolution in the coming weeks, which will be discussed with the members of the Security Council.”
The NIE said Iran stopped its covert pursuit of nuclear weapons in 2003. It is currently enriching uranium, insisting it is only for civilian purposes. But the West accuses the regime in Tehran of intending to use it for an arms program.
“We appeal jointly with all urgency to the leadership in Tehran to comply without reservation with the demands of the Security Council,” Mr. Steinmeier said.
He made his statement at what was planned as a press conference after the ministers’ meeting, but they refused to take questions from reporters. The text they agreed on was not released either.
The senior U.S. official, who was traveling with Miss Rice, said the draft resolution has “some new elements” but declined to elaborate. He said the ministers had a “very detailed” discussion of those elements during their intense two-hour meeting.
Miss Rice and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov were “the most active participants” in the deliberations, the official said. The two usually argue heatedly at such gatherings and sometimes display their differences in public.
The United States “is very pleased” with the outcome of the meeting, the U.S. official said. But European diplomats said economic and trade sanctions advocated by Washington and its allies did not make it in the draft resolution.
“This should be a swift reminder” to the Iranians that “we are all united,” the U.S. official said, referring to earlier reports that Tehran was exploiting the differences among the six countries to play down the significance of U.N. sanctions.
An Iranian spokesman said the new sanctions will not stop Tehran from pursuing its “legitimate and legal right” to nuclear energy.
Separately, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said his government will help the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with “clarifying issues linked to the past of Iran’s nuclear activities.” During a visit to Tehran by IAEA Director-General Mohammed ElBaradei earlier this month, Iran agreed to answer all remaining questions on its nuclear program in the next few weeks.
“After clarifying these matters, there will be more opportunities for discussions with the European Union countries on this and other issues,” Mr. Mottaki said.