CNN: The U.S., Britain and France introduced a draft Security Council resolution Wednesday that would give Iran a mandate to stop enriching uranium.
UNITED NATIONS (CNN) — The U.S., Britain and France introduced a draft Security Council resolution Wednesday that would give Iran a mandate to stop enriching uranium.
What happens next, said U.S. Ambassador John Bolton, “depends on the Iranian reaction.”
Iran has ignored a Security Council call to give up its production of nuclear fuel, the U.N. nuclear watchdog reported last week.
Though nothing is mandatory until the draft is approved, Bolton said the resolution was drawn up under Chapter 7 of the U.N. charter.
Writing a resolution under Chapter 7 gives it more teeth because it lays the groundwork for sanctions or the use of force by addressing how the Security Council administers “action with respect to threats to the peace, breaches of peace and acts of aggression,” according to the charter.
Bolton did say, however, “This resolution will not deal with sanctions.”
In the past, Bolton has dismissed the suggestion that the Bush administration might use a Chapter 7 resolution as the basis for military action, saying its only purpose would be to demand Iranian compliance.
Iranian Gen. Mohammad Ibrahim Dehghani, a senior Revolutionary Guard officer, warned that Israel would become the first target in the event of any U.S. military action against Iran.
Iran has repeatedly argued that the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty entitles the Islamic republic to enrich uranium for nuclear power plants, but several Western nations suspect Iran is working toward nuclear weapons.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has urged Iran to extend greater cooperation to U.N. inspectors to resolve questions about its intentions.
Wednesday’s draft does not set a date by which Iran must comply. The Security Council will work that out, but Bolton and French diplomats said they would like a short deadline, perhaps early June.
The draft calls on Iran to reassure the IAEA about the intent of its nuclear ambitions, halt uranium enrichment and suspend the construction of a heavy-water reactor “without further delay.”
Uranium can be used to fuel power plants or, in much higher concentrations, to produce a nuclear explosion. Heavy-water reactors also can be used in power plants, but are integral to turning uranium into weapons-grade plutonium.
Iran’s agreement to these demands would “contribute to a diplomatic, negotiated solution that guarantees Iran’s nuclear program is for exclusively peaceful purposes,” the draft states.
British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry said the five veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council — Britain, France, Russia, China and the United States — were “clear on the strategic objectives” of the resolution.
Diplomats from those powers plus Germany — which has been part of the European Union talks with Iran — met Tuesday in Paris to hash out a strategy for pressuring Iran.
The United States, Britain and France, which submitted the draft only after the Paris talks failed to yield a consensus, are expected to back sanctions if Iran refuses to suspend its nuclear program.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday after a meeting with President Bush that she agreed “under no circumstances must Iran be allowed to come into possession of nuclear weapons.”
Merkel said she still sees a chance for a diplomatic solution. The international community should remain cohesive, she said, and attempt to draw more nations into the partnership “to clearly show to the Iranians that this is unacceptable.”
During his joint appearance with Merkel, Bush deflected questions about what sanctions might be imposed on Iran. “That’s the kind of question that allies discuss in private,” he said.
The United States envisions imposing a restriction of trade in equipment that has both civilian and military uses, as well as banning travel and freezing the assets of key Iranians involved with the nuclear program. Russia and China oppose sanctions.
Iran has dismissed the prospect of sanctions and complained to the United Nations about what it calls “illegal and insolent threats” by Washington, citing Bush’s refusal to rule out military action against it.
Ahead of the latest talks, Iran announced it had increased its enrichment of uranium to 4.8 percent, close to the 5 percent compatible with civilian power stations.
Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, the French ambassador, said council members had “a good preliminary discussion” on the draft resolution Wednesday and that talks are scheduled to resume Thursday afternoon.
Although Russia and China are wary of invoking Chapter 7, “we are used to negotiation and we know that it is probably possible,” Sabliere said.
Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said that “historically, we think they [sanctions”> have not been very useful.”
But he said he hopes council members could reach agreement on the resolution before a foreign ministers’ meeting next week.
“We have some issues on the draft resolution, which we feel very strongly about,” Churkin said. “In our view, the resolution would be a means to advance the diplomatic and political resolution of the issue.”