Los Angeles Times: Despite the objections of Russia and China, the U.S., Britain and France introduced a draft Security Council resolution Wednesday that would legally compel Iran to halt its nuclear enrichment activities. By Maggie Farley
Los Angeles Times
UNITED NATIONS Despite the objections of Russia and China, the U.S., Britain and France introduced a draft Security Council resolution Wednesday that would legally compel Iran to halt its nuclear enrichment activities.
The resolution does not call for specific consequences if Iran does not comply, but makes clear that sanctions will be the next step. It demands that Iran “suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development” and calls on nations to prevent the transfer of materials for Iran’s nuclear and missile programs.
The draft cites Chapter VII of the U.N. charter, which authorizes punitive action for matters designated to be threats to international security.
“This resolution does not deal with sanctions,” said U.S. Ambassador John Bolton. But he said if Iran did not “back away,” the council stood ready to impose targeted sanctions banning Iranian leaders’ international travel, freezing their assets and restricting some imports.
Russia and China, which have veto power in the Security Council and extensive trade with Iran, say there is not enough evidence that Iran is an imminent threat to international peace and security to warrant sanctions. They also fear that the Chapter VII designation will open the door to political and economic penalties or a military strike.
“We do not believe this matter can be resolved by the use of force,” said Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s new U.N. ambassador. “A diplomatic and political solution is still possible.”
But Churkin said Russia was willing to back the measure if Moscow’s objections were heeded.
“Of course,” he said, when asked if there was any way Russia could support the resolution. “We are here to work together with the rest of the Security Council. We participated in taking the decision that we should go ahead with the resolution.”
The draft has language meant to reassure China and Russia that Security Council approval would be necessary to proceed with sanctions or other enforcement measures, while leaving flexibility to start preparing them.
Sponsors of the resolution hope to persuade Russia and China to at least abstain and let the resolution pass in order to ratchet up pressure on Iran. But they anticipate a struggle. The resolution puts heavy pressure on Russia, which is helping Iran build a nuclear power plant in Bushehr, to stop its aid.
“On the strategic objective, there’s nothing between the six of us. We do not want to see an Iran with a nuclear weapon capability,” Britain Ambassador Emyr Jones-Parry said. “On the detail of the resolution, there have been exchanges of views and those will continue.”
The foreign ministers of the five permanent Security Council members the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China plus Germany, are to meet on Iran in New York on Monday. The ambassadors from the U.S., France and Russia said they hoped there was agreement on the resolution by then.