Iran Nuclear NewsEurope puts sanctions at top of UN's Iran agenda

Europe puts sanctions at top of UN’s Iran agenda

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The Times: Britain, France and Germany will prepare today the text of a UN Security Council resolution aimed at forcing Iran to halt its controversial uranium enrichment programme or face sanctions. The Times

By Richard Beeston, Diplomatic Editor

BRITAIN, France and Germany will prepare today the text of a UN Security Council resolution aimed at forcing Iran to halt its controversial uranium enrichment programme or face sanctions.

In a serious escalation of the confrontation with Tehran over its nuclear ambitions, envoys from the three European countries will prepare a draft resolution that could be voted on this month. British diplomats said that the wording of the text would be similar to the language used last month for a non-binding statement calling on Tehran to stop its enrichment work. But this time it will be presented under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which makes the demands mandatory under international law.

The Iranians would probably be given a new deadline to comply or face the likelihood of sanctions in a follow-up resolution.

“We believe now is the time to move ahead on a Chapter VII resolution,” Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman, said, adding that such a move had “the force of international law to compel the regime to change its behaviour”.

The biggest obstacle facing the Europeans and their American allies is resistance from Russia and China, both permanent members of the Security Council with the power of veto. Moscow and Beijing have important trade relations with Iran and want to avoid any move that could harm those ties. Nevertheless, the calculation in Western capitals is that neither country would dare to use its veto power to side with Iran against the rest of the international community.

Senior American, British, French and German diplomats tried yesterday to persuade their Chinese and Russian counterparts that it was time for the international community to show resolve against Iran.

Last night the US gave warning that it might take matters into its own hands if the UN Security Council failed to endorse sanctions. “If for whatever reason the Council couldn’t fulfil its responsibilities, then I think it would be incumbent on us, and I’m sure we would press ahead to ask other countries or other groups of countries to impose those sanctions,” John Bolton, the US Ambassador to the UN, said.

President Ahmadinejad has already said that Iran “does not give a damn” about the threat of sanctions.

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