Iran Nuclear NewsDraft Iran resolution would restrict students

Draft Iran resolution would restrict students


New York Times: The United States and three European allies have given Russia and China a draft text for a Security Council resolution against Iran’s nuclear program. The proposal includes the extraordinary step of preventing Iranian students from studying nuclear physics at foreign universities and colleges. The New York Times

Published: October 26, 2006

WASHINGTON, Oct. 25 — The United States and three European allies have given Russia and China a draft text for a Security Council resolution against Iran’s nuclear program. The proposal includes the extraordinary step of preventing Iranian students from studying nuclear physics at foreign universities and colleges.

The draft resolution would also prohibit any technical or financial assistance that could benefit Iran’s nuclear program, and would impose a visa ban on any Iranians involved in nuclear activities, according to European diplomats involved in the negotiations.

Bush administration officials and their European counterparts have been squabbling over details of the draft resolution for the past week, and the horse-trading will probably increase now that the Russians and the Chinese have been given the draft.

United Nations ambassadors from the six countries — the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany — are scheduled to meet Thursday to debate the resolution, officials said.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged the Security Council to move rapidly to adopt the resolution, saying the authority and standing of the international community were at stake.

“For the international community to be credible, it must pass a resolution now that holds Iran accountable for its defiance,” Ms. Rice said during a speech on Asia policy at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington policy research organization.

She said that Iran and North Korea had challenged international attempts to halt the proliferation of unconventional weapons, and cautioned that the Iranian leadership was assessing how strictly the world community would enforce recent United Nations sanctions on North Korea.

“The Iranian regime is watching how the world responds to North Korea’s behavior, and it can now see that the international community will confront this threat,” she said. “Iran can see that the path North Korea is choosing is not leading to more prestige and more prosperity or more security; it’s leading to just the opposite.”

But after five months of missed deadlines, counterproposals and diplomatic overtures on Iran, few officials from any of the six countries involved were willing to predict when a final sanctions resolution might pass the Security Council. “A matter of weeks,” one senior Bush administration official said. “Maybe.”

“Will it be the resolution that we would have if we had written it by ourselves? Probably not, but that’s part of multilateral diplomacy,” Sean McCormack, the State Department spokesman, said. “We fully support this draft, and we look forward to its adoption.”

As is customary in diplomatic negotiations, officials who were most up to date on the talks would not allow themselves to be publicly identified by name or nationality. Those who discussed it on background came from several nations involved in the talks.

It was unclear just how far-reaching the proposed ban against nuclear education for Iranian students abroad would be, and the diplomats involved in the negotiations did not seem to have resolved that issue.

The prohibition would ban any training and education of Iranian citizens if it could eventually contribute to nuclear and ballistic missile programs. But whether such a ban would extend to all physics courses, or even to mathematics and other courses, remained undetermined.

The bickering of late has largely been tactical, with the United States on one side and Europe on the other, with both sides trying to decide how best to get the Russians and Chinese to sign on to tough sanctions.

The American ambassador to the United Nations, John R. Bolton, for instance demanded that the draft resolution bar Russia from continuing to build Iran’s first nuclear power plant — at Bushehr, in the southwest of the country — American and European negotiators said. While some American officials acknowledged that a provision against all work on Bushehr was unrealistic, Mr. Bolton wanted to put it on the table as a bargaining chip to get other Russian concessions, European diplomats said.

The French and British, however, disagreed with that approach, arguing that Bushehr was a “red line” for the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, and there was no point in putting something in the draft that would come out anyway.

“It’s like a flea market,” said one European diplomat. “The Americans say, ‘We have to make the text even stronger because we know the Russians will water it down.’ But that’s not a productive way of thinking.”

The draft resolution states that sanctions would apply to fuel at Bushehr but not construction, diplomats said.

Elaine Sciolino contributed reporting from Paris.

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