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Russia Ready To Back Franco-British Resolution On Iran If Its Amended

Vitaly Churkin, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, speaks to the media outside the Security Council chambers, 03 May, 2006, just after the Council discussed a draft resolution on Iran's nuclear program at UN headquarters in New York. The Security Council on Wednesday wrapped up nearly two hours of closed-door consultations at which France and Britain circulated a draft resolution legally obliging Iran to freeze uranium enrichment work. The text, worked out in close consultations with Germany and the United States, invokes Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which can authorize economic sanctions or even as a last resort the use of force in cases of threats to international peace and security. Photo courtesy of Stan Honda and AFP.
by Staff Writers
United Nations (AFP) May 04, 2006
Russia's new UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, on Wednesday said Moscow would be prepared to back a Franco-British draft resolution on the Iranian nuclear crisis if its concerns were addressed. But he made clear that his government remained opposed to the use of force or sanctions to resolve the nuclear standoff with Tehran.

Churkin spoke to reporters after attending Security Council consultations at which France and Britain circulated a draft resolution that would legally oblige Iran to comply with UN demands that it freeze uranium enrichment but does not call for sanctions.

The text, worked out in close consultations with Germany and the United States, invokes Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which can authorize economic sanctions or even as a last resort the use of force in cases of threats to international peace and security.

It says "Iran shall suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), and suspend the construction of a reactor moderated by heavy water".

"In our view the resolution would be a means to advance the diplomatic and political resolution of the issue," Churkin said. "The goal of the Russian federation is to make sure that the regime of non-proliferation is strengthened.

"We do not believe that the matter can be resolved by the use of force," he added.

Russia and China, which are close trading partners of Tehran and have veto powers by virtue of being permanent members of the council, have said they oppose sanctions or the use of force.

Asked if Moscow would be ready to accept the draft if it was amended to address its concerns, Churkin replied: "Of course, we participated in taking the decision that we should go ahead with the resolution."

"We have some things we feel very strongly about," he said. "If people agree with those things, then as far as we are concerned it could be a very quick process. If not then it will probably take some time."

Churkin expressed hope that the council could reach agreement on the draft before the foreign ministers of Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States meet here Monday to look at the broader picture of the Iranian crisis.

"Political and diplomatic solutions are still possible, the IAEA still has a lot of work ahead of it," he said, adding that Moscow was "skeptical" about sanctions.

The Franco-British text does not call for sanctions at this stage but said the council would "consider such further measures as may be necessary to ensure compliance with this resolution and decides that further examination will be required should such additional steps be necessary".

It stresses that "full verified compliance by Iran, confirmed by the IAEA Board, would avoid the need for such additional steps".

The council also reviewed IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei's report which concluded Friday that Tehran had failed to meet a 30-day UN deadline to freeze its uranium enrichment.

Iran insists that its nuclear program is peaceful and has rejected demands to end its uranium enrichment.

The draft also calls on "all states to exercise vigilance in preventing the transfer of items, materials, goods and technology that could contribute to Iran's enrichment-related and reprocessing activities and missile programs".

Source: Agence France-Presse

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