Bloomberg: The U.S., Britain, France and Germany are close to agreement on a United Nations draft resolution that would impose a travel ban and asset freeze on officials in Iran’s nuclear program, and bar acquisition of atomic-bomb or missile technology, diplomats said. By Bill Varner
Oct. 19 (Bloomberg) — The U.S., Britain, France and Germany are close to agreement on a United Nations draft resolution that would impose a travel ban and asset freeze on officials in Iran’s nuclear program, and bar acquisition of atomic-bomb or missile technology, diplomats said.
A proposed resolution could go to China and Russia as early as tomorrow, French Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere said. It would have the authority of a provision of the UN Charter that, while ruling out military force, authorizes “interruption” of economic and diplomatic relations and communications.
“We have to put our finger on the actions which we really criticize, calibrate the sanctions against proliferation- relevant materials and activities, against the persons who are involved in that, and against financial transactions that are directly linked to that,” German Ambassador Thomas Matussek said in an interview.
The measure would not be “about punishing Iran,” Matussek said, adding that the goal is to encourage Iran to suspend uranium enrichment while also maintaining a unified position in the Security Council. “If we now ask for very, very harsh punitive sanctions, we certainly cannot expect Russia and China to come on board.”
As an example of a way to gain Russian support, Matussek said the resolution may exempt the Bushehr nuclear power plant that Russia has helped Iran to construct. He said the text also may include lists of items drawn from the Nuclear Suppliers Group and Missile Technology Control Regime that Iran would be barred from obtaining.
U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said that a text might be ready “within a day or two,” while British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry said the draft might be given to all 15 member countries of the Security Council “sometime early next week.”
The Security Council adopted a resolution on July 31 that gave Iran one month to suspend enrichment activities, a demand the government in Tehran rejected. The measure called for countries to deny Iran access to goods and technology that could be used for its nuclear program, without citing specific items.
Iran will “not step back one iota from its rights” to nuclear energy, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today told supporters gathered in the town of Islamshahr, in Tehran province, in comments carried live on state television.
“We are asking for the complete use and full potential of the nuclear fuel cycle,” Ahmadinejad, pronounced ah-ma-deen-ah- ZHAD, said.
Talks in New York have followed the European Union’s statement on Oct. 17 that its diplomatic efforts since Aug. 31 have failed to curb Iran’s nuclear program, which is suspected to be developing a bomb.
North Korea Path
At a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo today, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said it is important that Iran doesn’t follow North Korea down the path toward the development of nuclear weapons, according to a government spokesman.
“We want to keep Iran in a separate category from North Korea,” Matussek said. “We might end up in the same category as North Korea, but our whole exercise is aimed at preventing that.”
Russia and China, which have resisted sanctions on Iran in the past, have agreed to act under Article 41 of the UN Charter, which provides for the limited sanctions and rules out force. Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said today that the next step would be a measure adopted under that provision of the UN Charter.
“We will continue to call on Iran to freeze uranium enrichment activities,” Chinese Ambassador Wang Guangya said. “More important, we will encourage the Iranians to talk to the Europeans.”