Reuters: The United States on Tuesday accused Russia of backing away from earlier commitments by its foreign minister in framing the international response to Iran’s nuclear program. By Irwin Arieff
UNITED NATIONS, Nov 7 (Reuters) – The United States on Tuesday accused Russia of backing away from earlier commitments by its foreign minister in framing the international response to Iran’s nuclear program.
U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said changes sought by Moscow in a U.N. draft resolution meant to stop Iran making a nuclear weapon conflicted with commitments by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in July.
“We don’t think the Russian text is consistent with what foreign ministers had agreed previously,” U.S. Ambassador John Bolton told reporters.
Russia, backed by China, proposed numerous amendments last Friday to a European-drafted U.N. Security Council resolution that would soften some of the proposed sanctions and delete others while at the same time shortening the text.
“I don’t know how we are going to work it out because the Russian version is very different than what we think the foreign ministers agreed to. But we are going to discuss that this afternoon,” Bolton told reporters.
He was referring to the July meeting in Paris of foreign ministers from the council’s five permanent members — Britain, France, Russia, China and the United States — plus Germany.
The six agreed they would not let Tehran drag its feet on the crisis and asked the Security Council to order Iran to suspend all uranium enrichment-related activities.
Washington has since insisted the foreign ministers agreed in Paris to impose tough sanctions on Tehran.
But Russia’s Lavrov said last week the draft was too harsh and proposed major revisions. He later said he would agree to some sanctions if they had a defined time-frame and a mechanism for lifting them once they had served their purpose.
Bolton made his comments as France and Britain formally presented the draft text to the 15-nation council.
The five permanent members and Germany have already held two rounds of discussions in New York on the draft and were to meet again later on Tuesday.
The resolution from Britain, France and Germany would demand that all countries prevent the sale and supply of equipment, technology and financing contributing to Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
It also would ban travel and freeze the assets of people and entities involved in the programs. Its goal is to pressure Iran to suspend all of its nuclear enrichment activities.
But council members said they were bracing for weeks of negotiations because of divisions over the text.
Bolton also circulated proposed amendments among the six, including language specifying that the Security Council considered Iran’s activities a threat to international peace and security. Iran insists its nuclear programs are meant only to produce electric power for civilian use while Washington says Tehran wants to make nuclear weapons.