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Friday, September 08, 2006


U.S. looks for quick Iran sanctions resolution.
By Louis Charbonneau.

BERLIN (Reuters) - The United States wants the U.N. Security Council to begin talks next week on a draft resolution that sets out sanctions against Iran for its nuclear activities, U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said on Friday.

But it was far from clear whether other major world powers supported Washington's push to penalize Tehran for defying a U.N. demand that it freeze uranium enrichment by August 31.

Speaking a day after meeting fellow political directors from Germany, Britain, France, China and Russia in Berlin, Burns said more talks on Iran would take place over the phone on Monday.

"The American view is that following these discussions on Monday and perhaps some others early next week, we should move this to the Security Council and draft a (sanctions) resolution," he told reporters.

But France said there was no point in rushing the Iran issue back to the Council without any certainty that it would result in a decision.

"There is not much point in going to the Security Council to display our divisions," Foreign Ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei said.

Burns, however, made it clear that Washington wanted to move fast and hoped there would be a draft resolution ready for the start of the U.N. General Assembly, whose participants arrive in New York during the week of September 18.

Burns said penalties should target Iran's government and nuclear industry, not the Iranian people, but acknowledged that no agreement had been reached on specific sanctions.

An EU memorandum earlier this year said sanctions could include trade restrictions, freezing of assets and visa bans for officials, diplomats and scientists.

Veto-wielding council members China and Russia have expressed reluctance to impose sanctions on Iran, which denies trying to develop nuclear arms.

At their meeting in Berlin, the powers agreed Iran had failed to meet a Security Council demand to freeze enrichment by August 31 and discussed "next steps" to be taken at the council.


However, consensus on what to do next appeared to be lacking.

"This is a complex issue. We obviously need more time, so we decided to meet again on Monday by conference call," Burns said.

"But I believe we will be successful in passing the sanctions resolution shortly," he said.

China and Russia implicitly backed the idea of sanctions by voting for Security Council resolution 1696 in July. But both question whether sanctions would work and whether Iran poses a pressing threat to international security.

Highlighting differences between Washington and Moscow, Sergei Kiriyenko, head of Russia's atomic energy agency, said a $1 billion atomic power plant Russia is building for Iran at Bushehr was scheduled to start up in September 2007.

Nuclear fuel, which Russia has promised to take back after it has been burned to prevent Iran from extracting bomb-grade plutonium, would be delivered in March or April, he said.

A high-ranking Russian source said that if Iran ever followed through on veiled threats to expel U.N. inspectors it would halt work on Bushehr, Iran's first atomic power plant.

Iran's nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani is due to meet EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana on Saturday to discuss Iran's response to an offer from the six world powers of trade and other incentives in return for halting nuclear fuel work. Burns said the meeting would take place in Vienna.

(Additional reporting by Oliver Bullough and Stuart Penson in London, Francois Murphy in Paris and Mark Heinrich in Vienna)

Written by AP. Rewritten here in case the original article disappears.

Category: USA, The UN and Iran.

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