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Iran's Bushehr Nuclear Plant Exempted In UN Sanctions Draft

Bushehr nuclear plant, Iran.
by Staff Writers
United Nations (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.

earlier related report
US sensitive to Moscow concerns over Iran sanctions
Washington (AFP) Oct 2 - The United States said Thursday it understands Russia's worries about proposed UN Security Council sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program after Moscow said it rejected the draft. "We know that the Russians have some concerns about the tactics and concerns about applying too much pressure too quickly on the Iranians. We certainly understand their point of view," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.

"There's certain logic that goes along with that. They have clearly expressed that to us as well as others," McCormack said.

"We expect that there are probably going to be changes along the way. That is just the nature of multilateral negotiations on these UN Security Council resolutions," he added.

"But the fact of the matter is, the Russian government, along with the other members of the P5-plus-1 have agreed to this diplomatic way forward, this process that we see unfolding right now," he said, referring to the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany.

"The whole idea and logic of this strategy has been that we gradually increase the diplomatic pressure on Iran, over a period of time, while maintaining the unity of this core group, the P-5-plus-1," McCormack added.

Earlier Thursday Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia rejects the draft put to the Security Council by France, Britain and Germany, and supported by Washington, that would penalize Tehran for refusing UN demands that it halt its uranium enrichment program, which is believed targeted at developing nuclear weapons.

The draft 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."

Lavrov said the resolution would not be effective in containing Iran's programme and contradicted the consensus reached by the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany, even though the draft specifically exempts from sanctions the Russian-built Bushehr nuclear plant in Iran.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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