TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- China and Russia said they would oppose a draft resolution imposing United Nations sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program as the Security Council’s five permanent members held their first meeting on the text.
“Since the door for diplomatic efforts is still open, why should we rush to sanctions?” Chinese envoy Li Junhua said to reporters at the UN.
“The EU package is still on the table. Sanctions, in our assessment, will not help.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the text circulated on Oct. 24 by Britain, France and Germany “fails to match” his government’s position on Iran’s nuclear program.
“It seems to me that, in this context, the draft resolution presented clearly fails to match the tasks previously agreed by the six nations,” Lavrov said in the Arctic city of Salekhard. The six nations are Germany and the five permanent members of the Security Council.
Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters that there was a “lot of work” ahead on the text after the permanent members — Russia, the U.S., China, France and Britain — met at the British mission to the UN. They have agreed in previous meetings and in a UN resolution adopted on July 31 to take “appropriate measures” in the event that Iran doesn’t suspend uranium enrichment.
U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said the envoys would meet again Oct. 30.
The new draft resolution would impose a travel ban and asset freeze on officials in Iran’s nuclear program and bar acquisition of nuclear or missile technology. It would bar fuel for the Bushehr nuclear power plant that Russia is helping Iran build while allowing the import of construction materials, UK Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry said.
“We know the Russians have some concerns about the tactics and concerns about applying too much pressure too quickly” on Iran, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters in Washington.
“We don’t think it (the Bushehr issue) will be an obstacle to getting a good strong resolution that we can fully support.”
The exemption for Bushehr is one reason the U.S. hasn’t fully endorsed the draft resolution. McCormack said that, while the U.S. fully supports the draft, “different countries have different approaches” and changes will be made along the way. He said the final outcome would be a “a good strong Chapter 7, Article 41 resolution.”
Article 41 of the UN Charter, cited in the July 31 resolution, rules out the use of force to enforce sanctions while authorizing the interruption” of economic and diplomatic relations and communications.
On the issue of Bushehr, Jones Parry said the intent of the measure was “that any materials which might help their nuclear program should not be allowed in,” On that, he said, there is not a “width of paper” between the U.S. and the Europeans.