Iran Nuclear NewsU.N. Council considers Iran nuke resolution

U.N. Council considers Iran nuke resolution

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Reuters: Britain and France plan to introduce on Monday a revised U.N. Security Council draft resolution imposing sanctions on Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment and hope to put the measure to a vote in the next two weeks. By Evelyn Leopold

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Britain and France plan to introduce on Monday a revised U.N. Security Council draft resolution imposing sanctions on Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment and hope to put the measure to a vote in the next two weeks.

In an effort to get Russian support, the two nations, along with Germany and backed by the United States, circulated to the 15 council members on Friday a new draft that narrowed bans to the most dangerous bomb-building materials and technology.

However, the draft keeps a travel ban and asset freeze on individuals, groups and businesses involved in Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, which Russia opposes.

But whether Russia, backed by China, who have veto power on the council, will accept the new text is unclear. At a meeting in Paris earlier this month, the six nations did not reach agreement, indicating further changes might be in the offing.

Still, one European envoy, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the intention was to have a unanimous vote soon. “But we will accept an abstention to avoid this dragging out into the new year,” the envoy said.

And U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack noted last week that “if you do have a resolution that is enacted, it will be binding on all states regardless of whether or not they abstained or voted for it.”

In addition to a scheduled council meeting to discuss the text on Monday afternoon, Germany and the five permanent council members intend to have another meeting among themselves, following weeks of haggling over the draft.

The proposed sanctions are a reaction to Iran’s failure to comply with an August 31 U.N. deadline to suspend uranium enrichment, which can produce fuel for nuclear power plants or for bombs. Iran has argued that it is pursuing nuclear power for peaceful purposes, while the West believes Tehran’s nuclear work is a cover for bomb making.

The new resolution allows Russia to continue construction and supply fuel to an $800 million light-water reactor it is building at Bushehr. The original draft was ambiguous on fuel supplies.

The text does not mention Bushehr by name but focuses sanctions on “enrichment-related, reprocessing or heavy water related activities, or to the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems.”

It keeps a range of sanctions that would curb any technical assistance to Iran by the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency and tell countries to prevent Iranian students from studying nuclear-related disciplines.

The sanctions would be lifted if Iran suspends enrichment and enters negotiations.

The draft threatens further measures if Iran does not comply but it is doubtful any will be imposed, considering the lengthy debate over an initial resolution.

As in the earlier draft, the resolution invokes Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which makes enforcement mandatory. But it points to Article 41, that pertains only to sanctions and not to any possible military enforcement.

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