Reuters: Russia said on Wednesday attempts by its Western partners to ditch agreed principles in handling Iran’s nuclear ambitions were blocking adoption of a U.N. Security Council resolution on sanctions against Tehran. By Oleg Shchedrov
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia said on Wednesday attempts by its Western partners to ditch agreed principles in handling Iran’s nuclear ambitions were blocking adoption of a U.N. Security Council resolution on sanctions against Tehran.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a news conference Russia was also alarmed by what it saw as Western attempts to hamper its economic cooperation with the Islamic republic and bring it under international control.
Lavrov said the five permanent Security Council members and Germany had agreed any action against Iran should rule out the use of force, help find a negotiated solution to the problem and back efforts by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
“Unfortunately we now have to overcome formulas in the initial draft, which depart from these basic principles,” he said referring to the document proposed by Britain and France and supported by Germany.
The European draft allows for a lifting of all sanctions if Iran fully complies with all council resolutions and IAEA demands.
It bans imports and exports of materials and technology relating to uranium enrichment, reprocessing and heavy-water reactors, as well as ballistic missile delivery systems.
To meet Russia’s objections, it excludes any mention of a light-water reactor Moscow is building at Bushehr in southwest Iran, Iran’s first nuclear power plant.
Lavrov praised progress reached on limiting possible sanctions to areas that cause IAEA concerns.
But he said the Western partners, who accuse Iran of trying to develop its own nuclear weapons, were trying to compensate for changes made under the Russian pressure in other parts of the draft.
He said Russia was opposed to the draft targeting areas which were not causing IAEA concerns including a travel ban on Iranian officials which he described as an attempt to introduce “an element of punishment” despite earlier agreement.
Lavrov specifically accused Western partners of seeking to introduce blanket limitations on Iran’s trade and economic ties, which could be painful for Russia, one of Tehran’s key partners.
“Our partners … are trying to turn the situation around in their favor by inserting into the resolution statements which would de facto lift all limits on the restraints that are being introduced in Iran and will sever … trade-economic ties with Iran in completely legitimate areas,” he said.
“There are also attempts to put this legitimate cooperation under the planned U.N. sanctions control committee.”
China, one of the five veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council, shares some of Moscow’s objections to the European draft which have delayed its adoption.
Lavrov made clear that Russia viewed full return to the agreed principles as a must for finally adopting the draft.
“If we honestly work on the basis of the agreements, we can reach a deal very soon,” he said.
(Reporting by Oleg Shchedrov)