Reuters: Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry on Wednesday predicted a U.N. Security Council vote before Christmas on a resolution imposing sanctions on Iran after Europeans dropped a mandatory travel ban opposed by Russia. By Evelyn Leopold
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry on Wednesday predicted a U.N. Security Council vote before Christmas on a resolution imposing sanctions on Iran after Europeans dropped a mandatory travel ban opposed by Russia.
“The expectation is that this text will be voted on Friday morning,” Jones Parry told reporters after a meeting of the 15 council members.
But Russia said there were two or three provisions it wanted changed and hoped they would be resolved shortly. The U.S. envoy said Washington was still studying the text.
In preparation for a vote, Britain and France, who, along with Germany, drew up a third version of the resolution, distributed the draft to the 15 U.N. Security Council members.
In the main, 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 in a concession to Russia, it has excluded any mention of a light-water reactor Moscow is building at Bushehr in southern Iran, the country’s first nuclear power plant.
The measure is a reaction to Iran’s failure to comply with an August 31 U.N. deadline to suspend uranium enrichment work and resume negotiations. Iran says it is pursuing nuclear power for peaceful means while the West says its research is a cover for bomb-making.
The resolution includes a list of 11 agencies or businesses and 12 people involved in Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, candidates for a travel ban and an assets freeze.
But the travel embargo, which Russia and China oppose, now calls on states “to exercise vigilance” and notify a sanctions committee should any individuals or envoys of business on the list cross their borders. Previously drafts made the ban mandatory.
Russia had wanted a Security Council sanctions committee, which could take months to make a decision, to decide the names for a financial freeze. But the draft says the committee could only add or subtract names from the list, which remains attached to the resolution.
“We are down to two or three issues which need to be tackled and I hope they will be by tomorrow (Thursday). Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters. “The travel ban is gone — it is addressed in a creative manner.”
Acting U.S. ambassador, Alejandro Wolff said the Bush administration was still studying the text, particularly the travel ban which Washington had made a priority.
“We reverted it back to Washington and they are looking at it and will see what the balance of the resolution looks like and if it accomplishes our objectives,” Wolff said.
The resolution would suspend sanctions if Tehran in turn suspended “all enrichment related and reprocessing activities, including research and development.”
It would lift the sanctions once Iran had fully complied with Security Council resolutions and directives from the International Atomic Energy Agency.
But if Iran refuses — as it has vowed to do– the council would consider further measures, the text says.
The resolution is under Article 41 of Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which makes enforcement mandatory but restricts action to non-military measures.