Powers Divided on Iran Sanctions

A02029283.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- Tehran’s nuclear issue is not on the UN agenda, Russia said rejecting claims by Britain and US that 5+1 powers hold the same view for intensifying sanctions on Iran.

Russia has agreed to no further action against Iran, despite US and British insistence that there is a unanimity of opinion among the P5+1 to slap further UN sanctions against Iran, a press tv report said.

“It may well be that in the course of those discussions some members of the six raised the issue of the sanctions,” the Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, said.

“But to the best of my knowledge there has been no firm agreement or understanding or concerted work in this regard.”

“Rather than focus entirely or almost entirely on sanctions, as some would have it, we should focus on what those opportunities might be. I mean, you cannot show up once in a certain meeting and be so disheartened as to start saying that the meeting can bring about no results. I mean, certainly it has been a difficult process but we believe that some positive steps and some positive moves have been made.”

Churkin also said that Moscow had no role in a deadline put forward by the US once the P5+1 incentive package was presented to Iran.

The US and its European allies proposed a two-week deadline for Iran to respond to the package. Iran ignored the issue, saying no deadline had been agreed upon during nuclear talks with the P5+1 group in Tehran.

The remark came after Iran Tuesday sent a letter to the major powers demanding additional clarification. Iran declared that for a clear response to the package, it needed clear answers to its questions.

The Untied States and Britain claim that Iran’s letter was the response to the incentive package, describing it as “unacceptable” and saying that they would pursue more sanctions.

Churkin, however, noted that Iran’s request for clarification on the elements of the incentive package will be taken into consideration and the negotiations will continue.

The Russian ambassador reiterated that there was potential in the ongoing dialogue with Iran and that the foreign ministers of the P5+1 group would meet in September to confer about Iran.

Iran’s nuclear issue appears nowhere on the UN monthly agenda. No topic can be brought up at the UN Security Council until the item is first placed on the UN agenda. No delegation has requested putting the issue of Iran on the UN’s agenda this month, Churkin stressed.

Washington and its Western allies accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear program, while they have never presented any corroborative document to substantiate their allegations. Iran denies the charges and insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

Tehran stresses that the country has always pursued a civilian path to provide power to the growing number of Iranian population, whose fossil fuel would eventually run dry.

Despite the rules enshrined in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) entitling every member state, including Iran, to the right of uranium enrichment, Tehran is now under three rounds of UN Security Council sanctions for turning down West’s illegitimate calls to give up its right of uranium enrichment.

Tehran has dismisses West’s demands as politically tainted and illogical, stressing that sanctions and pressures merely consolidate Iranians’ national resolve to continue the path.

Iran has also insisted that it would continue enriching uranium because it needs to provide fuel to a 300-megawatt light-water reactor it is building in the southwestern town of Darkhoveyn as well as its first nuclear power plant in the southern port city of Bushehr.

The Islamic Republic says that it considers its nuclear case closed as it has come clean of IAEA’s questions and suspicions about its past nuclear activities.

Yet, the United States has remained at loggerheads with Iran over the independent and home-grown nature of Tehran’s nuclear technology, which gives the Islamic Republic the potential to turn into a world power and a role model for other third-world countries. Washington has laid much pressure on Iran to make it give up the most sensitive and advanced part of the technology, which is uranium enrichment, a process used for producing nuclear fuel for power plants.

Washington’s push for additional UN penalties contradicts the report by 16 US intelligence bodies that endorsed the civilian nature of Iran’s programs. Following the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and similar reports by the IAEA head – one in November and the other one in February – which praised Iran’s truthfulness about key aspects of its past nuclear activities and announced settlement of outstanding issues with Tehran, any effort to impose further sanctions on Iran seems to be completely irrational.

The February report by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, praised Iran’s cooperation in clearing up all of the past questions over its nuclear program, vindicating Iran’s nuclear program and leaving no justification for any new UN sanctions.

Observers believe that the shift of policy by the White House to send William Burns – the third highest-ranking diplomat in the US – to the talks with Iran happened after Bush’s attempt to rally international pressure against Iran lost steam due to the growing international vigilance.

US President George W. Bush finished a tour of the Middle East in winter to gain the consensus of his Arab allies to unite against Iran.

But hosting officials of the regional nations dismissed Bush’s allegations, describing Tehran as a good friend of their countries.

Many world nations have called the UN Security Council pressure against Iran unjustified, especially in the wake of recent IAEA reports, stressing that Tehran’s case should be normalized and returned to the UN nuclear watchdog due to the Islamic Republic’s increased cooperation with the agency.

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