Reuters: In last minute negotiations, six key nations scrambled on Thursday to reach agreement on a draft resolution imposing sanctions on Iran before a U.N. Security Council vote Europeans have scheduled for Friday. By Evelyn Leopold
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – In last minute negotiations, six key nations scrambled on Thursday to reach agreement on a draft resolution imposing sanctions on Iran before a U.N. Security Council vote Europeans have scheduled for Friday.
The resolution demands Tehran end all uranium enrichment work, which can produce fuel for nuclear power plants as well as for bombs, and halt research and development that can make or deliver atomic weapons.
To this end, the measure bans imports and exports of dangerous materials and technology relating to uranium enrichment, reprocessing and heavy-water reactors, as well as ballistic missile delivery systems.
But Russia still wants some changes and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice indicated Washington might offer some also. “There are some changes that are still to be made to that draft,” she said of the measure drawn up by Britain, France and Germany.
“We are very supportive of the European Union draft,” Rice said in Washington but added: “It’s no secret we would have preferred to have this earlier had we been the lone drafter, and of course there might have been other things in it.”
Rice spoke as ambassadors from the United States, Russia, China, Germany, Britain and France held negotiations on Thursday afternoon in New York to decide on the final draft.
In a concession to Russia on Wednesday, the Europeans deleted a mandatory travel ban and instead told nations to notify a Security Council sanctions panel should any of 12 Iranians involved in the country’s nuclear and missile programs transit through their countries. Their names are on a list attached to the resolution.
The draft also imposes an assets freeze on the 12 people as well as 11 organizations associated with nuclear programs.
They include the country’s atomic energy agency and organizations dealing with Iran’s centrifuge programs, its heavy-water research reactor being built at Arak and a pilot uranium enrichment plant at Natanz.
The resolution is a reaction to Iran’s failure to comply with an August 31 U.N. deadline to suspend uranium enrichment work and resume negotiations and has been the subject of talks among senior government officials from the six powers since then.
Iran says it is pursuing nuclear power for peaceful means while the West suspects its research is a cover for bomb-making.
The drafters are hoping for a 15-0 vote but the ambassador of Qatar, the only Arab member of the Security Council, said he was still awaiting instructions.
“We are not in favor of any outcome (imposing) sanctions,” Nasser Abdulaziz al-Nasser told reporters. “We have to encourage Iran in a positive manner.”
He said the resolution would not stop Iran from pursing its nuclear program but might encourage it to pull out of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the world’s key atomic arms pact.
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.
(Additional reporting by Arshad Mohammed)