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Iran Nixes UN Nuclear Deal – Before It Is Offered

From the DNC’s Associated Press:

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, left, speaks during a press conference in Kuwait on Saturday, May 20, 2006 as Kuwait Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed AL Sabah, right, looks on. Mottaki rejected on Saturday the latest idea being floated to resolve his country’s standoff with the international community saying that Tehran would not give up uranium enrichment even if its file is withdrawn from the U.N. Security Council.

Iran Rejects U.N. Plan Before It’s Offered

By GEORGE JAHN, Associated Press Writer

VIENNA, Austria – Iran could be offered an end to U.N. Security Council pressure if it agrees to suspend uranium enrichment but face sanctions backed by the threat of force if it refuses, under a proposal being considered by world powers, diplomats said Saturday.

Yet even before the package of incentives and penalties was formally on the table, Tehran appeared ready to opt for the stick instead of the carrot.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told journalists in Kuwait City that while Iran wants the council to end its involvement, "suspending nuclear activities goes against our legitimate rights and is not part of the NPT," or Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

The draft proposal on Iran is being considered by the five Security Council nations plus Germany and could still undergo revision before the six powers sit down Wednesday to approve it, said one of the diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to reveal elements of the draft.

As it stands now, the proposal says the international community will "agree to suspend discussion of Iran’s file at the Security Council," if Tehran resumes talks on its nuclear program, suspends enrichment during such talks and lifts a ban on intrusive inspections by the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

It also offers help in "the building of new light-water reactors in Iran," offers an assured supply of nuclear fuel for up to five years, and asks Tehran to accept a plan that would move its enrichment program to Russia.

If Iran remains defiant, the draft calls for banning travel visas; freezing assets; banning financial transactions of key government figures and those involved in Iran’s nuclear program; an arms embargo, and other measures including an embargo on shipping refined oil products to Iran. While Iran is a major exporter of crude it has a shortage of gasoline and other oil derivatives.

"Where appropriate, these measures would be adopted under Chapter VII, Article 41 of the U.N. Charter," says the draft, referring to provisions that add the implicit threat of military force to a Security Council resolution.

That language — backed by the United States, France and Britain — remains controversial, and the head of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency plans to urge the Bush administration next week to ease its push for tough Security Council action.

Diplomats said Mohamed ElBaradei would meet with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and other top U.S. officials in Washington on Tuesday — a day before senior officials of the five permanent Security Council members, the European Union, and Germany convene in London to consider the Iran package.

The Americans have swung behind new attempts by France, Britain and Germany to persuade the Iranians to give up enrichment, which can be used to generate nuclear fuel or the core of weapons. But Washington insists that the Iran package include the threat of a Security Council resolution that is militarily enforceable if Tehran refuses.

Russia and China — the two other permanent Security Council members — oppose any resolution that even implicitly threatens the use of force.

If it weren’t so deadly serious, it would be funny.

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, May 20th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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