Iran Nuclear NewsEuropeans limit scope of Iran nuclear resolution

Europeans limit scope of Iran nuclear resolution

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New York Times: Europeans produced a revised draft of a Security Council resolution on Iran on Friday, and said they would formally introduce it on Monday in the hope of obtaining a speedy vote on much-delayed action to curb Tehran’s nuclear program. The New York Times

By WARREN HOGE
Published: December 9, 2006

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 8 — Europeans produced a revised draft of a Security Council resolution on Iran on Friday, and said they would formally introduce it on Monday in the hope of obtaining a speedy vote on much-delayed action to curb Tehran’s nuclear program.

The text was drawn up after weeks of meetings in European capitals among the three nations drafting the measure, Britain, France and Germany, in consultation with the United States. It is aimed at meeting persistent objections from China and Russia.

The revised language narrows the scope of prohibition and punishment to activities that are clearly associated with making a nuclear weapon. Iran has argued that it is pursuing nuclear power for peaceful purposes, while the United States and the Europeans have contended that Iran’s real purpose is to build bombs.

It also removes restrictions in earlier drafts on the construction, supplying and operation of an $800 million light-water reactor that Russia is building at Bushehr in southern Iran.

Iran ignored an Aug. 31 United Nations deadline to suspend uranium enrichment, which can produce fuel for both nuclear plants and weapons. Since then, the United States and the Europeans have been pressing for sanctions, but China and Russia have stalled action, saying broad punishment would be counterproductive.

Iran has said that a sanctions resolution would be a threat to its national security. The proposed sanctions still include travel restrictions, an asset freeze and bans on providing nuclear program goods, but in the new text they are now more focused on people and material linked to suspected weapons-building activities.

“The new text has two goals,” said one European diplomat involved in its preparation. “First, to keep it firm — I think it is a strong text — and at the same time to have the Chinese and Russians on board.”

A second European diplomat was asked whether the Europeans planned to drive the matter to a vote, even if China and Russia, both veto-bearing permanent members, continued to object or threatened to abstain. “The intention and the wish is to remain unified and get this agreed,” he said. “But it is three months since Iran ignored the deadline, and we are not saying unanimity at any price.”

Neither diplomat would speak on the record before the text was officially presented to the members of the Council. In Washington, Sean McCormack, the State Department spokesman, said that he sensed that the differences over the resolution “were starting to narrow.”

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