New York Times: The six world powers seeking to rein in Irans nuclear ambitions are circulating a significantly weakened draft for a United Nations Security Council resolution against Tehrans nuclear program, in a bid to keep their fragile coalition from falling apart. The New York Times
By HELENE COOPER
Published: November 29, 2006
WASHINGTON, Nov. 28 The six world powers seeking to rein in Irans nuclear ambitions are circulating a significantly weakened draft for a United Nations Security Council resolution against Tehrans nuclear program, in a bid to keep their fragile coalition from falling apart.
The new text under consideration has dropped all mention of sanctions against Irans first nuclear power plant at Bushehr, according to European diplomats. The United States had initially proposed including Bushehr on the list of programs to single out, but Russia, which has been helping to build the power plant with the Iranians, balked.
Diplomats from the six countries, which also include Britain, France, Germany and China, have been squabbling about the draft resolution for almost three months. There is still no agreement on a final draft.
Complicating the matter is the steady drumbeat in Washington, from inside and outside the Bush administration, calling on President Bush to initiate talks with Iran over the worsening violence in Iraq.
This has to be carefully managed, said one European diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity under normal diplomatic practice. Its important for the U.S. to separate the two issues, because the Iranians would like everything to be combined.
It has been six months since the six powers offered Iran a list of incentives to stop enriching uranium and threatened sanctions if Iran did not. In June, at the time of the initial offer, American officials said Iran had weeks, not months to comply.
The growing call for Washington to initiate talks with Tehran over Iraq is only one of the complicating factors. Also holding things up is that Russia and China but Russia in particular dislike like the idea of punitive sanctions, and have been dragged along kicking and screaming, according to diplomats.
American officials have sought a strongly worded resolution that would prohibit any technical or financial assistance that could benefit Irans nuclear program, and would impose a ban on visas for any Iranians involved in nuclear activities, according to American and European diplomats involved in the talks.