UNITED NATIONS, May 4, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Great Britain and France, two of the UN Security Council's permanent members, along with Germany introduced a draft resolution on May 3 that calls on Iran to immediately suspend all uranium-enrichment activities and to halt the construction of a heavy-water reactor.
The resolution refers to Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which makes it mandatory under international law. It gives Iran another chance to comply prior to a deadline that has not yet been decided but diplomats hope it will be in early June.
The draft resolution is consistent with the Security Council approach defined at the end of March: a gradual and reversible approach of applying pressure on Iran to give up its alleged nuclear weapons aspirations.
Invoking Chapter 7
Jean-Marc de La Sabliere, France's ambassador to the UN, said the Security Council was in agreement that the time to act is now.
"They all [members of the Security Council] understand that [the] Security Council has now to act again," he said. "Everyone understands that it should be a resolution. We [France] think that it should be [a] Chapter 7 resolution because it is important now to make mandatory some requests of the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] and mainly the request for Iran to suspend all enrichment-related activities and also the construction of the heavy-water reactor."
Emyr Jones Parry, Britain's ambassador to the UN, called on UN members to make sure sensitive nuclear technology does not get into the hands of the Iranians. He also said the Security Council was responding to Iran's failure to halt uranium enrichment.
Jones Parry added that the resolution is not "intended to be a precursor to sanctions, it is intended to be a clear message and an urging. In terms of the next stage, let's be clear: this is a calibrated approach. We're responding now to the failure of Iran to comply with what the IAEA governing board asked, with what the [Security] Council urged last month in its presidential statement."
Jones Parry said the next stage depends entirely on Iran.
Russia, China Oppose Sanctions
Russia and China have already expressed serious reservations about sections of the draft resolution, specifically the enforcement nature of Chapter 7. Such a resolution, they say, will greatly increase tensions with Iran and could open the road toward sanctions and possible military action should Iran remain defiant.
"It is clear for us that there should be no mentioning of sanctions in the resolution and there isn't," Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin said. "The draft doesn't mention sanctions. Our principle position is that the resolution should not contain anything that could be used as a ground for threat or use of force. We are convinced that there isn't a military solution to this problem."
John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, said the United States would seek quick adoption of the resolution, hopefully before foreign ministers of the five permanent Security Council members plus Germany meet in New York on May 8 and 9.
"I look forward to see if we can meet Ambassador Churkin's desire to finish this by Monday [May 8] analytically," he said. "This is very straightforward, this is not complicated, it doesn't require a lot of negotiations. Now the ball is in Iran's court. Once again, as we move forward on this resolution we hope for its early adoption, we hope for unanimity in the council, but not unanimity at any price, and not unanimity at the price of extensive delay."
The Security Council in late March issued a nonbinding statement asking Iran to abandon uranium enrichment, a process than can lead to a nuclear weapon or generate electricity.
The council asked for a report within 30 days from IAEA Director-General Muhammad el-Baradei, who said on April 28 that Iran had not complied.
Iranian officials argue that the IAEA, the UN's nuclear watchdog, has not found a weapons program after three years of scrutiny. They note the agency does not consider Iran's program an imminent security threat.
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