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West Wants UN To Urge Suspension Of Iran Nuclear Activity

by Staff Writers
Vienna (AFP) Jan 26, 2006
Western powers want the UN Security Council to call on Iran to suspend sensitive nuclear fuel activity, according to a UN draft resolution read to AFP.

The United States, along with Britain, Germany and France, are haggling with key Iranian trading partners Russia and China over the wording of the draft resolution for an emergency meeting in Vienna February 2 of the UN watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The draft - read to AFP - "recommends to the Security Council that it consider making clear to Iran that outstanding questions" can be resolved "by Iran responding" to calls by the IAEA for a suspension of nuclear fuel work and cooperation with IAEA inspectors.

Russia is resisting the pivotal clause because it fears Tehran's failure to meet the demand would open the way to an escalation in UN Security Council action, possibly leading to sanctions, said a senior diplomat, who is close to the talks but asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The text shows a line crossing out the crucial clause. The diplomat said this had been done by the Russian representative to talks in Vienna in order to clear the way to a new wording.

Britain, Germany and France called the emergency meeting of the IAEA's 35-nation board of governors after Iran this month resumed work on uranium enrichment, the process that makes fuel for civilian nuclear reactors but also what can be the raw material for atom bombs.

The European trio, who are spearheading European Union nuclear talks with Iran, drew up the draft text, a senior diplomat close to the talks said.

Washington charges the Iranian nuclear program is a cover for secret atomic weapons work. Iran says it is a peaceful nuclear power program, which it has the right to pursue.

Russia wants to change the clause so that the IAEA board of governors just informs the Security Council about developments in Iran but "decides not to take any action," the senior diplomat said.

"The Russians object that if the Council is empowered to take any sort of action, that this will go further, an automatism that will set off a chain of reactions," said the diplomat.

The diplomat said that "if Iran does not do what the resolution tells them, then this could lead to sanctions, or even more," a reference to military action, under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter.

A second diplomat said the Russians want the crackdown on Iran to be a "two-step" process, with the Security Council being informed of the matter after next week's meeting but any decision on calling for enforcement action coming after a pause for diplomacy until a regularly scheduled IAEA board meeting on March 6.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Related Links

Iran: To Shove Or To Nudge To Compliance
Washington (UPI) Jan 25, 2006
While U.S. senators introduce the possibility of military action against Iraq, Western diplomats are banking on the threat of sanctions to convince Tehran to abandon its uranium enrichment program.







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