Iran Nuclear NewsUN sanctions on Iran scaled back, European envoy says

UN sanctions on Iran scaled back, European envoy says

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Bloomberg: Britain, France and Germany scaled back proposed limits on Iran’s ability to acquire materials and technology for its nuclear program to gain Russian support for United Nations sanctions, a European diplomat said. By Bill Varner

Nov. 30 (Bloomberg) — Britain, France and Germany scaled back proposed limits on Iran’s ability to acquire materials and technology for its nuclear program to gain Russian support for United Nations sanctions, a European diplomat said.

A revised draft resolution, given this week to the U.S., China and Russia, bans only items that might be used to build a nuclear weapon, the diplomat said on condition of not being identified. The initial text barred the transfer to Iran of a broad range of materials and technology that might contribute to its nuclear or ballistic missile programs.

The new draft removes a proposed ban on fuel for the Bushehr power plant that Russia is helping Iran to build. It also extends to 60 days from 30 days the period before the UN’s nuclear watchdog agency would report to the Security Council on Iran’s compliance with a required suspension of uranium enrichment activities, the diplomat said.

Britain, France and Germany circulated the revised text after UN envoys failed over the past month to reach agreement on how to block Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Russia, backed by China, proposed sweeping changes to the draft circulated by the Europeans in mid-October, arguing that adoption of the measure might prevent a negotiated settlement of the dispute.

U.S. SUPPORTIVE

The U.S., which didn’t fully back the first version of the draft resolution out of concern that it wasn’t tough enough, has signaled overall satisfaction with the European revisions, the diplomat said. U.S. Ambassador John Bolton wouldn’t comment.

“There’s been no action on it in New York here for quite some time,” Bolton told reporters yesterday at the UN. “It’s in the hands of political directors.”

The U.S. suspects that the Iranian drive to produce enriched uranium is a precursor to building a bomb, in contravention of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which Iran is a signatory. Iran, the second-biggest oil producer in the Middle East, says the fuel is needed to generate electricity.

Talks in New York will resume only after China, Russia and the U.S. accept the new concepts as the basis for negotiations, the diplomat said.

German Ambassador Thomas Matussek earlier this week said he expected the revisions to form the basis for a “final product,” meaning adoption by the Security Council. He said the amendments were a “major step” toward the Russian position.

Retained in the latest British, French and German version of the draft resolution are the proposed travel ban and asset freeze on officials involved in Iran’s nuclear and missile programs. Russia has opposed those provisions.

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