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UK Envoy Expects Iran Compromise To Be Adopted At UN Soon December 21, 2006

Posted by notapundit in World News.
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UNITED NATIONS (AP)–The U.K. ambassador to the U.N. said Wednesday he expects a revised United Nations sanctions resolution against Iran to be adopted before Christmas after a mandatory travel ban against a dozen Iranians involved in the country’s nuclear and missile programs was dropped to meet Russian objections.

While not mandatory, Emyr Jones Parry said the compromise “will preserve a check on everybody moving.”

Earlier, Germany’s U.N. Ambassador Thomas Matussek said one possible compromise is to have the list of Iranians subject to a travel ban “not totally binding.” Instead, he said, countries would be notified of the list and asked “to exercise vigilance,” presumably by informing a Security Council sanctions committee of the movements of those on the list.

The latest draft that has been made public would order all countries to ban the supply of specified materials and technology that could contribute to Iran’s nuclear and missile programs. It would also impose a travel ban and asset freeze on key companies and individuals in the country’s nuclear and missile programs named on a U.N. list.

Russia and China remain at odds with the U.S. and key European countries, however, over the travel ban, which Moscow says is unnecessary, and a list of companies and individuals that should be subject to a freeze of their financial assets.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters in Moscow earlier Wednesday that the proposed sanctions were too broad and included wording that would block legitimate economic ties with Iran.

He said a “quick agreement” was possible if the U.S. and its European partners return to the original understanding that sanctions shouldn’t be used as punishment against Iran and that the Security Council shouldn’t try to usurp the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog.

“I think we are making progress,” Germany’s Matussek said after an hour-long meeting of ambassadors from U.K., France, Germany, Russia, China and the U.S. that ended early Wednesday afternoon. Germany isn’t a council member but it has been a key party in European Union negotiations with Iran so it participates in the six-nation talks.

The six countries offered Iran a package of economic incentives and political rewards in June if it agreed to consider a long-term moratorium on enrichment and committed itself to a freeze on uranium enrichment before talks on its nuclear program.

With Iran refusing to comply with an Aug. 31 council deadline to stop enrichment, U.K. and France circulated a draft sanctions resolution in late October.

U.K.’s Jones Parry – who is sponsoring the resolution with French Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere – said the new revised text would be introduced in the council Wednesday afternoon “and it will be virtually the final text.”

It will be put in a form that can be voted on, but it can also be changed, he said.

Was he confident that Russia would agree to the new draft?

“What I am confident is that there will be a vote on this before Christmas and that that resolution will carry,” Jones Parry said.

Germany’s Matussek said “there are some proposals to a real good compromise on the travel ban,” which the Russians need to study.

Iran insists its nuclear program is aimed solely at the peaceful production of nuclear energy, but the Americans and Europeans suspect Tehran’s ultimate goal is the production of nuclear weapons.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reiterated Tuesday that possible Security Council sanctions wouldn’t stop Iran from pursuing uranium enrichment, a technology that can be used to produce nuclear fuel for civilian purposes or fuel for a nuclear bomb.

To meet concerns of Russia and China – who have strong commercial ties to Iran – that the original resolution was too broad, it was revised to specify in greater detail exactly what materials and technology would be prohibited from being supplied to Iran and to name those individuals and companies that would be affected.

The first revision also removed a reference to a nuclear facility being built by the Russians at Bushehr, Iran – another demand by Russia. The facility, expected to go on line in late 2007, would be Iran’s first atomic power plant.

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