Reuters: The U.N. Security Council was poised on Monday to adopt a resolution demanding Iran suspend its nuclear activities by the end of August or face the threat of sanctions. By Evelyn Leopold
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The U.N. Security Council was poised on Monday to adopt a resolution demanding Iran suspend its nuclear activities by the end of August or face the threat of sanctions.
Barring last-minute delays, the council has scheduled a vote on the document that demands Iran “suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development.”
If Tehran does not comply by August 31, the council would consider adopting “appropriate measures” under Article 41 of Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which pertains to economic sanctions, says the draft.
The resolution is the first on Iran with legally binding demands and a threat to consider sanctions. The United States and its allies suspect Iran is developing a nuclear bomb and accuse it of hiding research over 18 years.
On the eve of the anticipated vote, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a news conference the resolution was unacceptable and his country had the right “to take advantage of peaceful nuclear technology.”
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi also warned on Sunday the resolution would create what he called a deeper crisis in the Middle East, but he did not elaborate.
Germany and the council’s five permanent members with veto power — the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain — reached broad agreement on Friday and no major changes were made over the weekend.
But Russia and China are reluctant to impose sanctions and Moscow’s U.N. ambassador, Valery Churkin, told reporters on Friday the sanctions provision meant the council would have “a discussion” only on punitive measures.
Churkin also said the August 31 date was to meet Iran’s request that it be given until August 22 to respond to an offer in June from the six nations of an energy, commercial and technological package if Tehran suspended its nuclear work.
But U.S. Ambassador John Bolton told reporters that “if Iran fails to comply with this mandatory obligation, we will move to sanctions in the Security Council.”
Iran’s Asefi said Tehran would stop considering the incentives if the resolution were adopted.
Asefi said Tehran could still reply to the incentive package if the Security Council held its fire.
The resolution is drafted under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, Article 40, which says the council, before taking any action, can call on the those concerned to “comply with such provisional measures as it deems necessary.”
Chapter 7 makes a resolution mandatory and provides options for enforcement. The document excludes any military action.