VIENNA, Austria, AP -The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany will meet in Vienna later this week in hopes of approving a package of incentives and penalties meant to persuade Iran to give up uranium enrichment, diplomats said Monday.
The diplomats, who demanded anonymity for divulging the confidential information, told The Associated Press the meeting will take place Thursday.
The meeting is a follow-up on talks in London last Wednesday, where senior representatives of the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China and Germany said they made good progress in efforts to find common ground on rewarding Iran if it gives up uranium enrichment or punishing it if it doesn’t.
The foreign ministers of the six nations would have to give final approval to the package. Then it would formally be presented to Tehran by France, Britain and Germany — the three European nations who broke off similar talks with Iran in August after it resumed activities linked to uranium enrichment, which can be used to make the fissile core of nuclear warheads.
Iran, which insists it has a right to the technology to make nuclear fuel, has repeatedly said nothing can make it relinquish its fledgling enrichment program.
In Malaysia, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki reiterated this stance on Monday.
“The main incentive for Iran is to recognize the essential right of Iran to have nuclear technology,” he said. “The time of (issuing) threats to other nations is over. Selective approach to humanitarian issues is over.”
The Security Council gave Iran until the end of April to suspend all activities linked to enrichment. Instead of complying, Iran upped the ante, announcing last month that it had for the first time successfully enriched uranium and was doing research on advanced centrifuges that would let it produce more of the material in less time.
Indirectly linked to any deal up for approval by the foreign ministers would be agreement on a key issue that for months has hobbled joint action by the Security Council’s permanent members on formulating a possible Security Council resolution tough enough for Washington while also acceptable to Moscow, a close ally of Tehran.
Wrangling within the council has hampered its work since it became actively involved in March, two months after Iran’s nuclear file was referred to it by the 35-nation board of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.’s nuclear monitoring agency.
Russia and China have opposed calls by the United States, Britain and France for a resolution that would threaten sanctions and be enforceable by military action.
The compromise proposal is meant to break that deadlock.
In the event that Iran remains defiant, the proposal — as outlined to the AP by diplomats familiar with the text — calls for a Security Council resolution imposing sanctions under Chapter VII, Article 41 of the U.N. Charter. But it avoids any reference to Article 42 — which is the trigger for possible military action to enforce any such resolution.
And it specifically calls for new consultations among the five permanent Security Council members on any further steps against Iran. That is meant to dispel past complaints by the Russians and Chinese that once the screws on Iran are tightened, it would automatically start a process leading to military involvement.
Still other potential hurdles remain. The proposed resolution still would declare Iran a threat to international peace — something also opposed by Moscow and Beijing.
Among the possible sanctions, according to a draft proposal shared in part with the AP, are a visa ban on government officials, the freezing of assets, blocking financial transactions by government figures and those involved in the country’s nuclear program, an arms embargo and a blockade on the shipping of refined oil products to Iran.
If Tehran agrees to suspend enrichment, enter new negotiations on its nuclear program and lift a ban on intrusive inspections by the IAEA, they would be offered rewards including agreement by the international community to “suspend discussion of Iran’s file at the Security Council.”
The package also promised help in “the building of new light-water reactors in Iran,” offered an assured supply of nuclear fuel for up to five years, and asked Tehran to accept a plan that would move its enrichment program to Russia.