Britain says `deal is emerging` on Iran sanctions

Britain`s UN Ambassador has said agreement was emerging on a UN resolution imposing sanctions on Iran for its nuclear program but Russia is still opposed to a travel ban on Iranian officials.

United Nations, Dec 16: Britain's UN Ambassador has said
agreement was emerging on a UN resolution imposing sanctions on
Iran for its nuclear program but Russia is still opposed to a travel
ban on Iranian officials.

Ambassadors from Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the
United States said talks yesterday made progress during negotiations
on the Security Council resolution drafted by the Europeans and
supported by Washington.

''I think a deal is emerging,'' British Ambassador Emyr Jones
Parry told reporters. ''I think on all of the elements that were
contentious, there is now a way through them.''

He said he hoped to have a final text by Tuesday so a vote could
be held next week in the 15-member Council.

But Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said ''things are not
ready yet'' although ''we are moving ahead.''

''We have made some modest progress, but there are some things
to be discussed,'' Churkin said. ''So we are going back to the
capitals and meeting Monday morning.''

In the main, the resolution bans imports and exports of
materials and technology relating to uranium enrichment,
reprocessing or heavy-water reactors as well as ballistic missile
delivery systems for a bomb.

Diplomats said that Russia wanted some changes here also. Churkin has
said he opposed a travel embargo on 11 agencies or businesses and 12
individuals involved in Iran's nuclear and ballistic missiles

The draft resolution also calls for a freeze on assets
abroad for this same group but Russia wants a Council sanctions
committee to select the targets, a slow process.

Acting US Ambassador Alejandro Wolff said the United
States insisted on keeping the travel ban in the text. ''We want
to vote this as soon as possible and have this resolution
adopted,'' Wolff said.

France's UN Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sabliere said there was
''modest progress'' but ''I think we could make it next week.''

The proposals are a reaction to Iran's failure to comply with an
August 31 UN deadline to suspend uranium enrichment, which can
produce fuel for nuclear power plants or for bombs.

Iran says it is pursuing nuclear power for peaceful purposes,
while the West believes its research is a cover for bomb making.

Iran's top negotiator on nuclear issues said yesterday
Tehran would retaliate if the sanctions were adopted.

''If they want to deprive Iran of its nuclear work they are
making a big mistake. If they want to act in a way to decrease our
capabilities through sanctions we will be obliged to use painful
methods in return,'' said Ali Larijani, secretary of Iran's supreme
National Security Council, without elaborating.

To meet objections from Russia and backed by China, the
Europeans have already softened the resolution by narrowing the
list of prohibited materials and technology.

The new draft also made clear that light-water reactors and
fuel for them are excluded from sanctions, such as the nuclear
plant being built by Russia at Bushehr in southern Iran, which
is expected to be finished in late 2007.

The European text says the Council would suspend the sanctions
if Mohamed Elbaradei, director-general of the Vienna-based
International Atomic Energy Agency, decides Iran has suspended its
uranium work and stopped efforts to set up a heavy-water nuclear
energy reactor. He reports within 60 days.

Russia wants sanctions lifted if Iran complies.

Bureau Report

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