October 27th, 2006 02:39 EST
Negotiations on Iran Sanctions Begin at United Nations
United Nations -- The five permanent members of the Security Council have begun negotiations on a draft resolution that would impose sanctions on Iran's nuclear activities.
The resolution was drafted by Security Council members France and the United Kingdom, who, along with Germany (collectively known as the EU3), had negotiated with Iran to convince it to abandon its nuclear ambitions in exchange for a package of incentives that includes assistance in developing a civilian nuclear energy capability. The draft text was given to the other permanent members of the council -- the United States, China and Russia.
Representatives of the five countries, each with veto power over any resolution, began meeting October 26 to negotiate on a final draft before presenting it to the other 10 nonpermanent council members.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the United States "fully supports" the draft.
When the negotiations are completed and the resulting resolution is adopted, McCormack said, the United States believes "that we are going to have a good, strong Chapter 7, Article 41 resolution that imposes sanctions on Iran for failure to comply with previous Security Council resolutions . . . [and] sends a strong, clear message to Iran that it has to change its behavior.
"There is always another pathway that is available to the Iranian regime, but unfortunately they are taking us down the pathway of sanctions," the spokesman said.
Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere of France said that the sanctions being proposed are a "first response" and are focused on Iran's sensitive nuclear activities in an effort to get Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program.
The resolution would prevent the sale and supply to Iran of items and technologies that would contribute to its nuclear and missile programs, de La Sabliere told journalists October 25.
"It says also that persons engaged in this program shall be banned from travel; says also that funds and assets of these people and entities involved in Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile program shall be frozen," the ambassador said.
"Should Iran change its position and resume the suspension of enrichment activities, the council will lift the sanctions," he added. "So it is reversible."
The proposed resolution would be adopted under Article 41 of Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, de La Sabliere said.
Article 41 makes the sanctions mandatory, but permits only enforcement that does not involve the use of military force.
The French ambassador said he was confident that the council would be able to adopt a resolution unanimously. "We have done it before," he said referring the October 14 resolution imposing sanctions on North Korea for its nuclear test. (See related article.)
In early October the foreign ministers of the Security Council's permanent members (P5), Germany and the European Union (EU) decided to press for sanctions after the European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, reported that despite extensive talks Iran was unwilling to stop its nuclear enrichment program. (See related article.)
McCormack said that the United States understands that "there will probably be changes [in the draft resolution] along the way" but he does not see Russia' s construction of a nuclear power station at Bushehr, Iran, as an obstacle in reaching agreement on a strong resolution in the Security Council.
"We all know that we do have an agreement on moving forward on this pathway … of gradually escalating the diplomatic pressure," McCormack said. "The stage we're at right now, [is a] Chapter 7, Article 41 resolution."
For additional information, see Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.
(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)