Britain and France circulated a revised U.N. sanctions resolution against Iran Wednesday and predicted it would be approved on Friday after it was amended to meet Russian objections.
The new draft dropped a mandatory travel ban against about a dozen Iranians involved in the country’s nuclear and missile programs, which Russia said was an unnecessary punishment of Iran.
Russia and China, which have strong commercial ties to Iran, have not indicated whether they will vote in favor of the new draft.
“What I am confident is that there will be a vote on this before Christmas and that that resolution will carry.” Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry said.
He said later that the draft could still be changed before the vote, now scheduled for Friday morning. Council members are expected to discuss the revised text on Thursday.
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.
Ban on technology, materials
The latest draft 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 an asset freeze on key companies and individuals in the country’s nuclear and missile programs named on a U.N. list.
Instead of the travel ban, the draft resolution now calls on all states “to exercise vigilance” regarding the entry or transit through their territory of those on a U.N. list — which now includes 12 top Iranians but more can be added by the council.
It asks the 191 other U.N. member states to notify a Security Council committee that will be created to monitor sanctions when those Iranians show up in their country.
While not a mandatory travel ban, Jones Parry said the compromise formula “will preserve a check on everybody moving.”
It also says the council will review Iran’s actions in light of a report from the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, requested within 60 days, on whether Iran has suspended uranium enrichment and complied with other demands of the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog.
Ahmadinejad stands firm
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reiterated Tuesday that sanctions would not 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.
If the IAEA verifies that Iran has suspended enrichment and reprocessing, the resolution says the sanctions will be suspended to allow for negotiations. It says sanctions will be terminated as soon as the IAEA board confirms that Iran has complied with all its obligations.
If Iran fails to comply with the resolution, the draft says the council will adopt “further appropriate measures under Article 41 of Chapter 7” of the U.N. Charter.
Article 41 authorizes the Security Council to impose nonmilitary sanctions such as completely or partially severing diplomatic and economic relations, transportation and communications links.
Russia may take exception
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters in Moscow Wednesday that the proposed sanctions were too broad and included wording that would block legitimate economic ties with Iran.
Speaking before the new draft was circulated, he said a “quick agreement” was possible if the United States and its European partners return to the original understanding that sanctions should not be used as punishment against Iran and that the Security Council should not try to usurp the role of the IAEA.
Six countries who have been leading negotiations with Iran — Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the U.S. — offered Tehran 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, Britain and France circulated a draft sanctions resolution in late October, which has been revised several times since then.