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. Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant exempted in UN sanctions draft
UNITED NATIONS, Oct 26 (AFP) Oct 26, 2006
The Russian-built Bushehr nuclear plant in Iran is specifically exempted from nuclear and missile-related sanctions against Tehran proposed by three European powers, according to their draft resolution seen here Thursday.

The draft, a copy of which was obtained by AFP, was crafted by envoys of Britain, France and Germany in consultations with the United States and presented to their Russian and Chinese colleagues late Tuesday.

It calls on UN member states to "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 asked to take steps to bar "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 text also provides for a freeze on assets related to Iran's nuclear and missile programs as well as travel bans on nuclear and weapons scientists involved in those programs.

But in an apparent bid to mollify Moscow, the text specifically stresses that the proposed sanctions "shall not apply to supplies of items, materials, equipment, goods and technology, nor to the provision of technical assistance or training, financial assistance, investment, brokering or other services and the transfer of financial resources related to the construction Bushehr I, where these are being provided directly by the Russian federation."

It also states that the travel bans "shall not apply where such travel, directly between Iran and the Russian Federation, is necessary for the construction of Bushehr I."

Similarly, the assets freeze "shall not apply to funds, other financial assets or economic resources payable to the Russian Federation by Iran, related to the construction of Bushehr I," it noted.

Last month, Russia and Iran officially agreed on a 12-month deadline for completing the controversial Bushehr project, despite earlier pressure from Tehran that the station be completed in half that time.

Delays have plagued the project ever since the two countries entered into an initial agreement in 1995, with US officials pressing Russia to suspend the program.

The Bushehr contract is worth about one billion dollars to Russia.

Western powers suspect Iran is covertly trying to build nuclear weapons.

But Tehran has repeatedly ignored UN Security Council demands that it halt uranium enrichment, a process which, if extended, can provide the raw material for a nuclear warhead.

It insists that its nuclear program is peaceful and solely geared toward generating electricity.

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