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UNSC members squabble over Iran sanctions

Sharp differences have emerged between the five permanent members of the UN Security Council over the toughness of sanctions to be imposed on Iran.

india Updated: Nov 04, 2006 11:19 IST

Sharp differences have emerged between the five permanent members of the UN Security Council over the toughness of sanctions to be imposed on Iran for its failure to suspend uranium enrichment with the European draft coming under fire from Russia, which wants to soften it.

The apparently irreconcilable differences, diplomats say, have set the stage for difficult and prolonged negotiations.

Russia, backed by China, proposed extensive amendments, which will shorten the European draft and ensure that Tehran does not develop nuclear weapons while keeping the doors open for negotiations.

The Chinese diplomats say Beijing fully backs Moscow's position.

Both Moscow and Beijing believe that it is important not to push Iran to the corner with their diplomats asserting that ultimately a negotiated solution would have to be found.

But the United States, which along with its western allies disagrees with the Iranian contention that its programme is for peaceful purposes, wants to further strengthen the draft.

Both Russians and Americans are giving their own drafts which, US Ambassador John Bolton said, would be sent to the capitals and the Council might hold a meeting sometime next week to continue discussions.

Other diplomats said it would depend on the progress made negotiations between the capitals.

Moscow did not distribute the changes it is seeking though Bolton said they were extensive and a "complete line-in, line-out version of edits" but Churkin did say that Bushehr has nothing to do with the resolution under discussion as it is consistent with the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty which Iran had signed.

The European draft exempts Bushehr but does Moscow is expected to consult with the sanctions committee if it provides materials that can be used in making of nuclear weapons.

The European draft will ban all States from providing equipment, technology and financing which could help Iran develop a nuclear weapon or ballistic missiles.

Besides, it would freeze the assets of individuals and entities connected with Iranian nuclear weapon programme and also impose a travel ban.

Russia would like the draft to focus only on uranium enrichment, processing and heavy water reactors.

The resolution being discussed in response to Iran's rejection of August 31 deadline given by the Council ending its uranium enrichment programme which, Tehran says, is only meant to be used for its power plants.

Depending on degree of enrichment, uranium can be used in power production or for producing weapons.

First Published: Nov 04, 2006 11:19 IST