Iran Nuclear NewsAt the U.N., discord over confronting Iran’s nuclear ambitions

At the U.N., discord over confronting Iran’s nuclear ambitions

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New York Times: A meeting of six nations working on a resolution to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions broke up Tuesday evening with the ambassadors reporting widening disagreements and lessening prospects of a swift accord. The New York Times

By WARREN HOGE
Published: November 8, 2006

UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 7 — A meeting of six nations working on a resolution to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions broke up Tuesday evening with the ambassadors reporting widening disagreements and lessening prospects of a swift accord.

“The mood is not right for serious discussions,” said Wang Guangya, the ambassador of China, emerging from the meeting of the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany, whose envoys had gathered at the French Mission.

“Clearly, I think in a number of difficult areas that the differences cannot be bridged,” he said. “So I believe there ought to be more reflections in the capitals, and also I believe that we need to talk to each other.”

John R. Bolton, the American ambassador, left the session hurriedly without making his customary comment. “Gotta go, gotta go,” he said, as he brushed by reporters and entered his limousine.

Asked how the session had gone, Vitaly I. Churkin, the Russian ambassador, had a flippant response: “Nothing spectacular. Another day at the office.”

Earlier in the day, Mr. Bolton charged that Russia had pulled back from an agreement made in July by the foreign ministers of the six nations to impose sanctions on Iran if it did not meet an Aug. 31 deadline to suspend its uranium enrichment. That meeting was held in St. Petersburg, Russia.

“I don’t know how we’re going to work it out because the Russian version is very different than what we think the foreign ministers agreed to,” Mr. Bolton said.

Told of Mr. Bolton’s comments, Mr. Churkin chided the American. “You know, after our last meeting our colleagues asked me not to criticize their draft,” he said. “I said I would not, on the condition that they would not be criticizing our approach.”

Contesting Mr. Bolton’s point, Mr. Churkin said, “We believe that our attitude, approach and our proposals are fully in conformity with the understanding by the ministers.”

Siding with the Russian, Mr. Wang said, “The readout that we are hearing from the ambassadors here is not the same that we agreed to.”

Mr. Churkin also disputed an American attempt to insert into the text a description of Iran’s action as a threat to international peace and security, a phrase used in Security Council resolutions to justify harsher action.

“We don’t see it that way,” Mr. Churkin said. “We don’t believe we’re at that stage.”

The ambassadors were working from a draft resolution drawn up two weeks ago by Britain, France and Germany, with amendments suggested by Russia and the United States.

The resolution would prohibit any technical or financial assistance that could benefit Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, freeze the assets of any Iranians involved in nuclear activities and bar them from international travel.

In general, the Russian changes seek to limit punitive actions against the Iranians and stress the need for further negotiation with Tehran, and the proposals from Washington broaden the measure’s sweep and toughen the punishment.

“The problem is that we think that our tool kit is full of tools,” Mr. Churkin said, “and for some reason, for some people, there is only demand and sanctions — the hammer and sickle.

“In our view it’s much more than that. So we are trying to use the entire diplomatic tool kit in order to address the situation.”

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