AFP: Russia on Wednesday confirmed that it and the other members of the UN Security Council were in agreement over a US-proposed draft resolution that would impose tough new sanctions on Iran.
MOSCOW (AFP) — Russia on Wednesday confirmed that it and the other members of the UN Security Council were in agreement over a US-proposed draft resolution that would impose tough new sanctions on Iran.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton overnight that Moscow was still in accord with the draft text, after a surprise nuclear deal agreed between Iran, Brazil and Turkey, the foreign ministry said.
The resolution would expand an arms embargo and measures against Iran’s banking sector and ban it from mining uranium and developing ballistic missiles overseas, a US official said in New York.
“From the Russian side it was confirmed that the understanding in principle reached within the 5+1 (the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) on the draft resolution has been maintained,” the foreign ministry statement said.
It said Lavrov and Clinton had discussed the impact on the new resolution of the agreement brokered by Brazil for Iran to swap the bulk of its enriched uranium for nuclear fuel in Turkey.
The statement said Lavrov had made clear the situation after the deal should now be “analysed in the most detailed way”.
The accord signed Monday by the foreign ministers of Iran, Turkey and Brazil commits Iran to depositing 1,200 kilograms (2,640 pounds) of low enriched uranium (LEU) in Turkey in return for fuel for a research reactor.
Iran has touted the deal as a breakthrough but Western countries have remained sceptical and made clear it does not remove the need for new UN sanctions.
As a permanent, veto-holding member of the UN Security Council, Russia would need to give its support for any new UN sanctions to be imposed. But Russia, along with China, have often been opposed to tough measures against Tehran.
Clinton declared Tuesday in the United States that “we have reached agreement on a strong draft with the cooperation of both Russia and China.”
Beijing’s apparent backing of a fourth round of sanctions against Iran over its suspect nuclear activities came despite its earlier support for the swap deal.
“We attach importance to and support this agreement,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said.
Western powers fear that Iran’s atomic program is a cover for a nuclear weapons drive. Tehran denies this, saying the program is aimed at peaceful energy use, which it insists it has the right to pursue.
Clinton reiterated that Washington had raised “a number of unanswered questions” about the tripartite deal struck on Monday, but welcomed what she called the “sincere efforts of both Turkey and Brazil.”
For Washington, the core issue was that Iran intended to continue enriching uranium.