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. French envoy hopeful of agreement on UN draft on Iran nuclear issue
UNITED NATIONS, July 21 (AFP) Jul 22, 2006
French Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere on Friday expressed hope that the UN Security Council would be able next week to pass a legally binding draft resolution requiring Iran to freeze all uranium enrichment activities.

De La Sabliere, the council president for July, said progress was made in informal talks Thursday among envoys of the council's five permanent members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- plus Germany.

"We made progress yesterday. We have not settled all the problems," the French envoy said. "But I am confident that next week we will do so and I hope that we will be able to adopt this resolution next week."

The six powers on Friday held another round of informal talks with no sign of a consensus on the revised draft circulated by France Thursday on behalf of the three European powers -- Britain, France and Germany -- that have been spearheading nuclear talks with Tehran.

US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, who earlier said he had been instructed by his government to secure council approval of the text this week, said: "I think we should try and get this done early next week."

The European text is an amended version of a draft that has been under discussion this week by the six powers.

It "decides that Iran shall suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the IAEA (the UN nuclear watchdog), and suspend the construction of a reactor moderated by heavy water."

The text invokes articles 39 and 40 of Chapter Seven of the UN charter that stipulate "provisional measures" to be taken ahead of imposing tougher steps such as sanctions.

But it also expresses the council's intention in the event of Iran's non-compliance with the enrichment freeze demand "to adopt such further measures under Article 41 of Chapter Seven as may be necessary to ensure compliance."

Article 41 provides for a broad range of economic sanctions but does not authorize the use of force.

The new text also calls on all states "immediately to take steps to prevent the transfer of any items, materials, goods and technology that could contribute to Iran's enrichment-related and reprocessing activities and ballistic missile programs."

It gives Iran up to an as yet undecided date in August to comply with the UN demands.

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