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. UN powers unveil Iran sanctions draft
UNITED NATIONS, Oct 25 (AFP) Oct 26, 2006
Key Western UN powers have unveiled proposed sanctions that would target Iran's nuclear and missile programs over its failure to halt sensitive nuclear fuel work, diplomats said Wednesday.

A Security Council resolution drafted by envoys of Britain, France and Germany in consultations with the United States was presented to the Russian and Chinese ambassadors late Tuesday, they added.

France's UN Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, who played a key role in drafting the sanctions, said they invoke Article 41 of Chapter Seven of the UN Charter which calls for sanctions not involving the use of force.

The text proposes that UN member states "take necessary measures to prevent the supply, sale or transfer directly or indirectly from their territories or by their nationals ... of all items, materials, equipment, goods and technology which could contribute to Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs."

The states are also urged "to take the necessary measures to prevent the provision to Iran of technical assistance or training, financial assistance, investment brokering or other services and the transfer of financial resources or services related to Iran's nuclear or ballistic missile programs."

The draft warns that the council would "consider further measures" if Iran still refuses to comply with a demand that it freeze uranium enrichment, a process used to produce fuel for nuclear reactors but which, if extended, can also provide the raw material for bombs.

De La Sabliere told reporters that the text also contained a freeze on assets related to Iran's nuclear and missile programs as well as travel bans on nuclear and weapons scientists.

He said the draft would be discussed Thursday among envoys of the council's five council's five veto-wielding members (the P5) -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- plus Germany.

He added that the punitive measures were needed to respond to Tehran's defiance following the failure of negotiations between European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani.

Other diplomats noted disagreements between Washington and its European allies during consultations over whether the draft should call for a suspension of Russian assistance to Iran's Bushehr nuclear power station.

De la Sabliere said it had always been the view of the Europeans that the proposed sanctions would exempt the Bushehr project.

China and Russia, which have significant economic interests in Iran, are reluctant to slap tough measures on Tehran, and a Western diplomat said that Moscow was certain to oppose any call to suspend aid to Bushehr.

"It's premature to say that the council is in a position to impose sanctions," China's UN delegate Li Junhua said.

But in Washington, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged the 15-member council to immediately slap sanctions on Iran or face losing credibility.

Iran's Islamic regime should pay close attention to the wide-ranging sanctions being imposed on North Korea since it carried out its first test of a nuclear bomb on October 9," Rice told the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack described the European text as a "good solid draft" to which China, Russia and the United States will propose their own input.

Asked about Bushehr, he replied: "I don't think that will be a problem in coming to a final agreement on a draft that we can get out to the wider Security Council."

Russia has served notice that agreement on an acceptable text was likely to take some time.

"This is a first response, a response which is firm," said France's UN envoy. "We have always said that should Iran change its position and resume suspension of enrichment, then the Council will lift the sanctions. So it is reversible."

"We would like to have all members united on this text," he added. "The negotiations will start tomorrow and I am confident we will make it."

Western powers fear Iran's uranium enrichment could be diverted to make nuclear weapons, but the Islamic republic insists its nuclear program is solely aimed at generating electricity.

Tehran has repeatedly said it has no plan to halt uranium enrichment, and on Wednesday confirmed that it had installed new equipment to step up enrichment work despite the sanctions threat.

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