Iran Nuclear NewsDissent weakens coalition pressing Iran on nuclear program

Dissent weakens coalition pressing Iran on nuclear program

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New York Times: After months of missed deadlines, threats and counterproposals in the effort to rein in Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the fragile coalition of six world powers that has been facing down Tehran may be about to splinter. The New York Times

Dead Sea, Jordan, Dec. 1 — After months of missed deadlines, threats and counterproposals in the effort to rein in Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the fragile coalition of six world powers that has been facing down Tehran may be about to splinter.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sounded fed up Thursday with Russia’s refusal to sign on to the list of United Nations Security Council sanctions the United States would like to see enacted against Iran.

A senior administration official in Jordan with Ms. Rice said the United States would soon be ready to force the issue by calling for a vote.

“Unity is not an end in itself,” Ms. Rice told reporters, in answer to a question about whether the United States was willing to sacrifice a tough sanctions resolution in order to keep the Russians on board. “I’m all for maintaining unity, but I’m also all for action.”

Her comments came during a roundtable with reporters on the outskirts of a democracy meeting with Arab leaders in Jordan.

The Iran sanctions issue has been a vexing one for Ms. Rice. It has been six months since the six powers — the United States, Russia, Britain, Germany, France and China — 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.

Since then, Iran has not complied, and since September, the six powers have been working on a Security Council resolution. But Russia has balked at the tougher sanctions sought by the United States, Britain and France.

A new draft resolution under consideration at the United Nations has dropped all mention of sanctions against Iran’s first nuclear power plant at Bushehr, American and European diplomats said. The United States had initially proposed including Bushehr on the list of programs to single out, but Russia, which has been helping build the power plant with the Iranians, objected.

On Wednesday, Agence France-Presse reported that the International Atomic Energy Agency investigation of Iran’s nuclear program was still being hampered by unanswered questions about work hidden by Tehran for almost two decades.

Tehran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, an assertion that is disputed by the United States and its allies.

A senior Bush administration official said that if the six powers could not come to an agreement on the sanctions resolution before the end of the year, the United States would seek to put a resolution up for a vote in a bid to force Russia to take a public stance.

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