Iran Nuclear NewsSecurity Council presses Iran on nuclear program

Security Council presses Iran on nuclear program


ImageNew York Times: The United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution on Saturday pressing Iran to comply with international efforts to monitor its nuclear development program, reaffirming both earlier sanctions and the offer to end the confrontation through negotiations.

The New York Times

Published: September 28, 2008

ImageUNITED NATIONS — The United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution on Saturday pressing Iran to comply with international efforts to monitor its nuclear development program, reaffirming both earlier sanctions and the offer to end the confrontation through negotiations.

“The added value of the resolution we have adopted today is that it is channeling the minds of everybody in the direction of political rather than military enterprises,” said Vitaly I. Churkin, the Russian ambassador.

The measure contained no new sanctions, which the West supports but Russia and China oppose. The point of the resolution was to temper the impression that the tension over Georgia was leaching into other issues, with Russia balking at attending a meeting last Thursday to discuss further measures against Iran.

The resolution is the first concerted response to the International Atomic Energy Agency report issued this month criticizing Iran for its lack of cooperation and suggesting it might be hiding military experiments linked to the nuclear program.

The Iranian mission to the United Nations issued a defiant statement calling the latest resolution “unwarranted” and “unconstructive.”

“Regardless of such unjustifiable actions as the one taken by the Council today, the Iranian nation will remain determined to exercise its inalienable rights for peaceful uses of nuclear technology,” the statement said.

It took a few hours of bartering with Indonesia to reach consensus on the final resolution. The first version, just two paragraphs long, agreed on by the ministers of the five permanent Security Council members and Germany, urged Iran to comply “without delay” to all previous sanctions resolutions on the nuclear issue.

The final version added an introductory line affirming the importance of the nonproliferation treaty and two more paragraphs stressing the need to pursue talks in tandem with sanctions.

“Now negotiations are very much highlighted, so there can be no mistake that there should be a two-track approach,” said R. M. Marty Natalegawa, the Indonesian ambassador. He said he hoped that the stress on negotiations would also set a precedent for the Security Council to be kept apprised of problems with the talks.

The five permanent members of the Security Council who have been negotiating with Iran are China, Britain, France, Russia and the United States. Three sanctions resolutions since December 2006 sought to limit organizations believed to be instrumental to the nuclear program.

Bernard Kouchner, the French foreign minister, said any progress on the negotiating track would probably have to wait for elections in the United States because the Iranians “certainly want to talk to the Americans.”

The resolution was basically meant to emphasize that the six remained unified in seeking to prevent Iran from building nuclear warheads.

“There is no weakening at all in our resolve to ensure that Iran does not continue on the path towards a nuclear weapon, that Iran suspends its uranium enrichment program,” said David Miliband, Britain’s foreign secretary. “It is important that the unity that does exist about this issue is not clouded.”

The continuing tension provoked by the August conflict in Georgia was very much on display elsewhere. Sergey V. Lavrov, the foreign minister of the Russian Federation, used his speech before the General Assembly earlier Saturday to lash out at the United States, without singling it out by name.

The world consensus forged after the Sept. 11 attacks was gradually sapped by the American attitude that it could go it alone starting with the war in Iraq, he said. “All decisions were taken by one power while the rest just had to follow,” he added.

That culminated in the United States encouraging Georgia to attack the breakaway enclave of South Ossetia, he said, maintaining that the deployment of Russian troops there was needed to establish stability.

“The distortion of reality hampers international efforts to settle conflicts and crisis, and revives the worst practices of the Cold War era,” he said, suggesting the answer was in strengthening world bodies like the United Nations.

But in the past week it was the leaders of the new democracies once part of the Soviet bloc who suggested in the General Assembly that Russia had revived Cold War traditions by moving its tanks into Georgia.

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