Iran Nuclear NewsWest distributes Iran text without Russian assent

West distributes Iran text without Russian assent

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Reuters: Despite optimism of a U.N. Security Council vote this week on Iran’s nuclear program, Russia still voiced objections on Tuesday to a draft European resolution imposing sanctions on Tehran. By Evelyn Leopold

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Despite optimism of a U.N. Security Council vote this week on Iran’s nuclear program, Russia still voiced objections on Tuesday to a draft European resolution imposing sanctions on Tehran.

But Britain and France, who drafted the text along with Germany, decided to distribute the measure to the council so the 15 members could prepare for a vote. But no vote has been set yet because of differences with Russia and China.

The text, obtained by Reuters, is similar to a previous version, but allows for a lifting of all sanctions if Iran fully complied with all council resolutions and demands from the International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of governors.

The resolution bans imports and exports of materials and technology relating to uranium enrichment, reprocessing and heavy-water reactors, as well as ballistic missile delivery systems. And to meet Russia’s objections, it excludes any mention of a light-water reactor Moscow is building at Bushehr in southwest Iran, Tehran’s first nuclear power plant.

But Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, said he wanted to delete a travel ban on leading Iranian officials and firms associated with the nuclear program. He also opposes a list of Iranians subject to an assets freeze.

The issues are the same ones that Russia, backed by China, has objected to for days in talks with five other key powers.

“We are still discussing a number of key areas,” China’s U.N. Ambassador Wang Guangya told reporters. “So far there are some differences over some areas.”

In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the draft resolution, revised earlier this month, had largely met Moscow’s concerns as a basis for a consensus decision.

But Churkin said, “There is a certain distance between basic agreement and final agreement. We are trying to cover this distance and so far we are not there yet.”

‘PLUGGING AWAY’

U.S. acting ambassador Alejandro Wolff said the distribution of a new text to the full council in preparation for a vote would be up to the Europeans.

“Delegations have very firm views on some issues so we keep plugging away,” Wolff told reporters.

“We made some progress today. There are still some issues left,” Wolff said, adding, “We still want this done this week.”

In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the United States, “It’s time for a vote.”

“The introduction by Iran of a nuclear weapon into the Middle East would probably the single most destabilizing event the Middle East has ever seen and we don’t want to see that,” McCormack said.

The resolution is a reaction to Iran’s failure to comply with an Aug. 31 U.N. deadline to suspend uranium enrichment, which can produce fuel for nuclear power plants or for bombs.

Iran says it is pursuing nuclear power for peaceful means, while Western governments believe its research is a cover for bomb-making.

Russia’s remaining objections concern a travel embargo on 11 agencies or businesses and 12 people involved in Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, which are also candidates for a freeze on assets.

Although Churkin said he agreed with a financial freeze, diplomats said he opposes the list, which is in an annex to the resolution. Instead Russia wants a Security Council sanctions committee to make the decision, a process that could take months.

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