Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

West wants Friday UN Iran vote but Russia says no | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page

UNITED NATIONS, (Reuters) – Europeans and the United States hope for a vote on Friday for a U.N. resolution imposing sanctions on Iran’s nuclear work but Russia’s U.N. ambassador said further negotiations would prevent adoption for a day. “I do not think there is going to be a vote tomorrow (Friday),” Moscow’s U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, told reporters after talks among six key nations on Thursday. “Maybe Saturday, yes, but clearly we will need tomorrow for further thinking and maybe further discussions of the draft resolution,” Churkin said, adding that there were several unresolved issues in the U.N. Security Council draft.

Iran has vowed to continue its nuclear program, which it says is for peaceful uses only, despite the resolution, even if it is approved by Russia. Russia is building an $800 million light-water reactor for Tehran at Bushehr that is exempted in the resolution.

The draft 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 could lead to atomic weapons.

The sanctions include a ban on imports and exports of dangerous materials and technology relating to uranium enrichment, reprocessing and heavy-water reactors, as well as ballistic missile delivery systems.

The United States and European drafters of the resolution — Germany, France and Britain — held out hope a vote could still be called on Friday after another round of discussions with Russia and China.

“We’re close to a final text,” said acting U.S. Ambassador Alejandro Wolff. “There are some elements that are still of concern to us (and) to other delegations.” “We’re hoping for a vote as soon as possible,” Wolff said. “We’ll see if we can do it tomorrow (Friday).”

Churkin, according to meeting participants, wanted to dilute a provision calling for a freeze on financial assets abroad of 11 individuals and 12 organizations associated with Iran’s nuclear program to prevent them from buying dangerous materials. The list is attached to the resolution.

Churkin told reporters he approved of a ban on enrichment, reprocessing and heavy-water nuclear reactors but that “other activities should not be in any way prohibited or restricted.”

“Just two or three issues remain but those are difficult issues,” he said, without elaborating.

In a concession to Moscow on Wednesday, the Europeans deleted a mandatory travel ban and instead told nations to notify a Security Council sanctions panel if any Iranians on the list transit through their countries.

The measure is a reaction to Iran’s failure to comply with an Aug. 31 U.N. deadline to suspend uranium enrichment work and resume negotiations.

The resolution is under Article 41 of Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which makes enforcement mandatory but restricts action to nonmilitary measures. It would suspend sanctions if Tehran in turn suspended “all enrichment related and reprocessing activities, including research and development.”

The bans would be lifted once Iran had fully complied with Security Council resolutions and directives from the International Atomic Energy Agency. But if Iran refuses the council would consider further measures, the text says.