Bloomberg: China and Russia may be reneging on commitments to demand that Iran stop enriching uranium, a British diplomat said after giving the United Nations Security Council a resolution threatening the Islamic nation with economic penalties for refusing to comply. July 20 (Bloomberg) — China and Russia may be reneging on commitments to demand that Iran stop enriching uranium, a British diplomat said after giving the United Nations Security Council a resolution threatening the Islamic nation with economic penalties for refusing to comply.
“We have seen this happen before with China and Russia,” U.K. Deputy Ambassador Karen Pierce said. “They think that if they can row back a bit, why not try?”
Pierce said she was concerned about remarks by Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin that he’s in no hurry to adopt a UN resolution on Iran and with Russian proposals that would delay adoption of the measure. U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said he wants the Security Council to vote this week.
Chinese and Russian foreign ministers agreed at a July 12 meeting in St. Petersburg with their U.S., U.K. French and German counterparts to a statement pledging to make it “mandatory” that Iran stop enriching uranium. In the event of non-compliance, the statement said they would adopt a measure that invokes the UN Charter’s authorization of economic penalties and the severance of diplomatic relations.
Iran says its enrichment program is for peaceful purposes.
“We are not in a rush at all,” Churkin told reporters after a meeting yesterday on Iran with the U.S., U.K. France and China. “We are giving some freedom to Iran to respond. We do not want to dictate things to Iran.”
The U.K. and France today presented member governments of the Security Council with a new draft resolution on Iran, giving the government in Tehran until sometime next month to comply. The text asks the UN’s nuclear watchdog agency to report by “(X) August” on whether Iran has stopped enrichment activities. The ‘(X)’ refers to a date that has yet to be negotiated.
The measure expresses the council’s intent to “adopt such further measures” as the St. Petersburg statement described. It also says “further decisions will be required should such additional steps be necessary.”
Bolton told reporters today that it is unlikely the Security Council will vote this week. He said a meeting with Russian and Chinese envoys today “brought us a little bit forward.” He said the U.S. would play a “bridging” role between its European allies and Russia and China, who blocked adoption of a Security Council resolution in May.
Iran’s top security panel today said the country will pursue the production of nuclear fuel, warning against “confrontation” and saying no response to the European package of incentives would come before Aug. 22.
“Iran is not looking for frictions, but if others create a hostile and difficult atmosphere, everyone will have problems,” the security body said. “If the path of confrontation is chosen instead of the path of dialogue and if there is any action to limit the absolute rights of the Iranian people, the Islamic Republic will have no choice but to revise its policy.”
Iran, holder of the world’s second-largest reserves of oil and natural gas, says the enriched uranium is needed for a power plant, as allowed under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
In response to international pressure over its nuclear program, Iran has threatened to withdraw from the accord. The U.S. and the U.K. are among countries that suspect Iran is enriching uranium for use in a nuclear weapon, which would be a breach of the treaty.
Iran’s security panel suggested the country may be open to a proposal for some enriched uranium to be imported into the country from Russia for use in generating electricity.
Iran will produce “part” of the nuclear fuel it needs, in a project to generate 20,000 megawatts of electricity over the next 20 years, the panel said in the statement.
The International Atomic Energy Agency on March 8 referred Iran to the UN Security Council after three years of agency inspections failed to declare Iran’s atomic work peaceful. In November 2003, the UN agency criticized Iran for concealing parts of its nuclear program for 18 years.
The Security Council passed a non-binding resolution for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment by an April 28 deadline, which Iran failed to meet. The EU-led nuclear offer delivered to Tehran on June 6 includes the lifting of some U.S. sanctions as well as access to light-water nuclear reactors.