UNITED NATIONS, (Reuters) – The U.N. Security Council met on Saturday discuss a draft resolution that again orders Iran to halt nuclear enrichment work but imposes none of the new sanctions Washington and its allies want.
The draft was agreed on Friday by the five permanent Security Council members and Germany at a meeting on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly and later circulated to the full 15-member council.
Diplomats said they hoped the council would vote on the text on Saturday but this was not certain. Several delegations said they had to consult with their capitals.
The 10-line draft resolution calls on Iran to “fully comply, without delay” with previous council resolutions, which demand it halt enrichment.
It also urges Iran to meet the requirements of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, which is investigating whether Iran had conducted research on an actual atomic weapon. The agency reported earlier this month Iran was not cooperating but Tehran says it is.
Iran insists its nuclear program is entirely peaceful and will only be used to generate electricity.
The United States, Britain and others accuse Tehran of stonewalling the IAEA and have called for the Security Council to impose a fourth round of sanctions against Tehran.
Russia and China gave reluctant backing to three previous sanctions resolutions that included asset freezes and travel bans on specific Iranian individuals and companies but are blocking further measures.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, whose country has veto power on the Security Council, appeared to rule out new sanctions in the near future.
“(We) continue to believe that it is not timely to consider at the ministerial, or at any other level, this proposal of new sanctions,” Lavrov told a news conference on Friday.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stressed the need to heal East-West rifts over Russia’s invasion of Georgia and convince the Iranians that the six powers were speaking with one voice.