Iran Nuclear NewsU.N. draft resolution on Iran loosens travel ban and...

U.N. draft resolution on Iran loosens travel ban and time limits

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New York Times: The European sponsors of a resolution to take steps against Iran for its refusal to halt sensitive nuclear activities submitted a freshly revised draft to the Security Council on Wednesday evening and called for a vote on Friday. The New York Times

By WARREN HOGE
Published: December 21, 2006

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 20 — The European sponsors of a resolution to take steps against Iran for its refusal to halt sensitive nuclear activities submitted a freshly revised draft to the Security Council on Wednesday evening and called for a vote on Friday.

In a major concession to Russia, the principal dissenter during the months it has taken to settle on the language of the resolution, the final revision eases a travel ban on people involved in Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Instead of directing countries to prevent entry of such people into their territory, it now “calls upon” states to “exercise vigilance” over those who cross their borders.

It also gives to a monitoring committee that would be set up under the resolution greater authority than earlier drafts did to restrict what people and entities should be listed as suspected participants in nuclear activities.

In addition, the new draft qualifies a freeze on assets of such people and gives countries more time — 60 days instead of 30 — to report to the committee on how they are complying with the demands of the resolution.

The major thrust of the resolution is to demand that Iran immediately end all enrichment of uranium, which can produce fuel for power plants but also for bombs, and cease all its research and development work on the kinds of activities that are aimed at making weapons.

The amendments were added to address complaints from Russia, a country with close economic ties to Iran. Vitaly I. Churkin, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations, said the resolution appeared largely acceptable to his government.

“The travel ban is gone,” he said, adding, “It is addressed in a more creative manner, which is more in line with our original thinking.”

Alejandro D. Wolff, the acting American ambassador who on Tuesday had called the ban an American priority, was asked if the new version could still be called a ban.

“Well, under the vigilance, obviously countries can take their decision on whether they are going to allow people to travel into their country or not, so it does not exclude a ban on travel,” he said.

Mr. Wolff said that the United States was still studying the text, which was circulated among the 15 members of the Council only at 6 p.m. Countries were expected to seek guidance from their capitals overnight and present any final suggested changes to the text on Thursday.

“We are not necessarily quite there yet,” said Emyr Jones Parry, Britain’s ambassador. “We will vote this resolution Friday morning — that’s what we intend to do.”

The resolution bans imports and exports of materials and technology related to uranium enrichment, reprocessing and ballistic missile systems.

An earlier draft extended those restrictions to the light-water reactor that Russia is building in Bushehr in southern Iran, but, in another concession, all mention of the plant was dropped from the measure.

Settling on the language of the resolution has taken months of tough negotiating among ambassadors at the United Nations, periodic meetings in Europe of senior foreign ministry officials of the countries involved and frequent consultations between missions here and their capitals.

The participants have been Germany and the Council’s five permanent members: the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia.

The principal stumbling block has been resistance from Russia and China to steps that would punish Iran for its defiance of the Security Council deadline on suspending the enrichment of uranium.

Iran says that it is exercising its sovereign right to develop nuclear power for peaceful energy purposes, but the United States and other Western governments believe Iran is developing nuclear weapons.

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