United Nations: The UN Security Council has
agreed to hold new closed-door consultations on Tuesday on a fourth
sanctions resolution against Iran over its suspect nuclear
program, with sponsors aiming for a vote later this week.
The 15 members met yesterday for nearly an hour after
Brazil and Turkey asked for "a meeting on Iran at some point
prior to adoption of sanctions on this issue," the Mexican
presidency of the council said.
Diplomats said no consensus emerged during the
closed-door session and US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice
told reporters the council would hold fresh consultations on
the sanctions draft early today.
The council`s five council permanent members -- Britain,
France, China, Russia and the United States -- are
co-sponsoring the sanctions draft and believe they have the
votes to secure passage.
"The sponsors are aiming for adoption on Wednesday," said
one Western diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The co-sponsors are pressing ahead with their text
without the backing of Brazil and Turkey, two non-permanent
council members who insist that fresh sanctions would be
counter-productive, as they say a deal they brokered opened
up an opportunity for further diplomacy.
Lebanon has also indicated it cannot support the
resolution for domestic political reasons.
Last month, Turkey and Brazil brokered a deal under which
Iran agreed to ship 1,200 kilogrammes of its low-enriched
uranium (LEU) to Turkey in return for high-enriched uranium
fuel for the Tehran reactor that would be supplied later by
Russia and France.
But the accord drew a cool reaction from world powers led
by the United States.
"We expect to bring the matter before the council this
week," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said in
Western powers fear that Iran`s atomic program masks a
bid to build nuclear weapons. Tehran denies this, saying the
program is aimed at peaceful energy generation, which it
insists it has the right to pursue.