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U.N. Revisiting Draft on Iran

July 21, 2006|Maggie Farley | Times Staff Writer

UNITED NATIONS — Britain, France and Germany on Thursday circulated a revised draft of a resolution demanding Iran suspend its uranium enrichment activities and banning the transfer of goods and technology that could aid Tehran's ballistic missile or nuclear programs.

The text does not include general economic sanctions, but it stipulates provisional measures that could pave the way for sanctions or military action if Iran doesn't comply. It gives Iran until a yet-to-be-specified date in August to respond.

Russia and China, which blocked previous action on the resolution, agreed to it in principle during the Group of 8 summit outside St. Petersburg, Russia, last week. Russia already has proposed amendments that would delay adoption of the measure.

"We are not in a rush at all," Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters after a meeting Wednesday with Britain, China, France and the United States. "We are giving some freedom to Iran to respond. We do not want to dictate things to Iran."

U.S. Ambassador John R. Bolton has said he hopes to have a vote on the resolution next week. "We'll see if the United States can play a bridging role between the European Union and the Russians and see if we can't help resolve this and get a resolution that's satisfactory to all of us," he said Thursday.

The permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany offered Iran a package of incentives June 6 to persuade it to suspend enrichment -- a process that can produce material for nuclear weapons as well as for power plants. The package includes help with advanced reactor technology and the easing of U.S. sanctions on the sale of aircraft and aircraft parts.

Iran's Supreme National Security Council said Thursday that the country would continue producing nuclear fuel and would not respond to the European package before Aug. 22.

"Iran is not looking for frictions, but if others create a hostile and difficult atmosphere, everyone will have problems," a statement from the council said. "If the path of confrontation is chosen instead of the path of dialogue, and if there is any action to limit the absolute rights of the Iranian people, the Islamic Republic will have no choice but to revise its nuclear policy."

The statement does not specify what Tehran would do, but Iranian officials have threatened to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and stop cooperating with U.N. nuclear inspectors.

The United States sees the resolution not only as a way to contain Iran, but as a new formula for halting the proliferation of nuclear weapons and technology, Bolton said. The Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution Saturday banning the transfer of goods and technology that would aid North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear programs. The same language is in the Iran resolution.

"I think Iran should take a look at this resolution and see that we've got a unanimous Security Council, all five permanent members," Bolton said after the North Korea resolution passed.

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