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. UN vote on new Iran sanctions put off to next week: diplomat
UNITED NATIONS, Feb 27 (AFP) Feb 27, 2008
A Security Council vote on new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear defiance won't happen until next week as sponsors of the draft mull new amendments to try to secure unanimous support, a Western diplomat said Wednesday.

The vote on a draft resolution slapping a third set of sanctions on the Islamic Republic over its refusal to halt sensitive nuclear fuel work had been expected to be held Friday. But the Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP: "There won't be a vote Friday."

He said more time was needed to discuss amendments to a draft sponosred by Britain and France to bring on board four countries which have expressed reservations about the new sanctions: Indonesia, Libya, South Africa and Vietnam.

The draft has already been agreed by the six major powers -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States -- trying to coax Tehran into giving up uranium enrichment, which could give it the capability to build nuclear weapons.

The draft's sponsors are confident that they have enough votes to ensure passage, which requires nine votes and no veto from either of the five permanent council members.

But they say they would like to secure unanimous approval to send a clear and united message to Tehran.

Meanwhile, Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters Wednesday that Moscow was ready to support the new UN sanctions against Iran if Tehran does not change tack on its nuclear program.

Asked if Russia would support sanctions, he said: "Yes. If Iran in the next few days does not change it's position .... Russia as a member of the group of six will take on the responsibility to support the UN resolution."

Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful and geared only toward generating electricity.

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