Reuters: Major powers negotiating sanctions on Iran for its nuclear program intend to deliver a draft resolution to the full 15-member Security Council on Wednesday in hopes of a vote within a week, the council’s president said. By Evelyn Leopold
UNITED NATIONS, March 13 (Reuters) – Major powers negotiating sanctions on Iran for its nuclear program intend to deliver a draft resolution to the full 15-member Security Council on Wednesday in hopes of a vote within a week, the council’s president said.
After more than two weeks of talks, the six negotiators said on Tuesday they were close to agreement with Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, who told reporters he had received “very positive” instructions from Moscow.
But China’s U.N. ambassador, Wang Guangya, said the final deal had not been reached over a list of Iranian officials and organizations subject to financial sanctions. This would include firms controlled by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
Also expected in the text are a ban on government loans to Tehran and an embargo on conventional weapons Iran could export.
“We will have consultations on Iran tomorrow (Wednesday) when they will give us a draft of whatever they have in hand, whether it is agreed or not agreed,” South African Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo, this month’s council president, said.
“Now it is coming to a point where it marginalizes the rest of the members … when the P-5 continue to discuss this endlessly among themselves,” Kumalo told reporters.
He was referring to the five permanent council members with veto power — the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China — who are negotiating a text along with Germany, which holds the current presidency of the European Union.
The United States and leading European countries suspect Iran is seeking to build nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian atomic program. Tehran denies the charge and says its program is for generating electricity only.
The new resolution is a follow-up to one adopted by the Security Council on Dec. 23 that imposed trade sanctions on sensitive nuclear materials and technology and froze assets of key Iranian individuals, groups and businesses.
The measure would penalize Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment, which can be used in bombs or for peaceful ends. The sanctions would be suspended if Iran complied and returned to negotiations.
Asked about his latest instruction from Moscow, Russia’s Churkin said, “I can describe it as a very positive set of instructions” but he said there were “still some things that need to be finalized” in the text.
Churkin warned against “artificial preconceived ideas that Russia is the odd man out among the six or China is the odd man out,” because Western nations also had voiced concerns.
China’s Wang said the main sticking point was the list of people, groups and businesses subject to sanctions and listed in an annex to the resolution.
“In the annex you have many entities and names because for many of us, including China, we are not sure about all those entities because the objective is to target the nuclear and missile activities,” Wang said.
“But now with so many names we don’t know whether they are linked to these activities or not,” Wang said of the list.
Optimistic that a vote in the 15-member council could be held within a week, Britain’s U.N. ambassador, Emyr Jones Parry, said, “There are no difficulties, there are just one or two issues to resolve.”
“Everybody had instructions but not necessarily on everything,” Jones Parry added.
Meanwhile Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wants to address the council to defend Tehran’s nuclear plans, but he has yet to officially ask for a meeting, Kumalo said.
According to Iran’s U.N. ambassador, Javad Zarif, Ahmadinejad “is determined to make this trip,” Kumalo said.
But the council had not yet received an official letter so it could consider the next steps, Kumalo said. Most members say there is little to prevent the president from speaking.