accord on Iran eludes major powers|
15, 2006 5:14 PM ET
By Evelyn Leopold and Irwin Arieff
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The five veto-holding members of the U.N.
Security Council failed again on Wednesday to reach agreement on how to
rein in Iran's nuclear ambitions after a fifth round of negotiations.
Russia and China are resisting proposals from Britain, France and the
United States for a council statement that would express "serious concern"
about Iran's nuclear program and asks it to comply with demands from the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The statement does not threaten
At the same time foreign ministry officials from the five powers and
Germany are considering meeting in New York on Monday to review strategy,
diplomats said. Russia had previously proposed such talks in Vienna, seat
of the IAEA.
China's U.N. ambassador, Wang Guangya, said he and Russia still had
problems with a proposal that the IAEA be asked to report to the Security
Council within 14 days on what progress Iran had made toward meeting the
U.N. nuclear watchdog agency's demands.
Both nations view the reporting requirement as shifting the focus of
the Iran dossier from the IAEA to the Security Council, which has the
power to impose sanctions. They would like any report on Iran's compliance
to go directly to the 35-nation IAEA governing board.
"We are still discussing," Wang told Reuters at the close of the
hour-long session at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, adding that
he did not consider the talks deadlocked.
Russia's ambassador, Andrei Denisov, a Chinese speaker, said only that
a quote from Mao Tse-tung aptly described the situation: "Prospects are
bright but the road is winding."
The negotiations shift to the full Security Council on Thursday when
all 15 of its members are to meet for a second time to discuss the draft
drawn up by France and Britain. Their first informal meeting took place on
Tuesday at the French Mission to the United Nations.
STATEMENT OR RESOLUTION?
The draft statement also calls on Iran "to reestablish full and
sustained suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing
activities, including research and development" that the IAEA would
It asks Iran to reconsider building a heavy-water nuclear reactor in
Arak, which is more suitable for producing fuel for nuclear weapons than a
A council statement needs to be approved by all 15 members, while a
resolution requires nine votes in favor and no veto from any of the
permanent members. If the impasse continues, the West could try to force
Russia and China into the uncomfortable position of having to consider a
"Whether it is a statement or a resolution we haven't decided," Bolton
"We're trying to hold the permanent five together first but reality is
reality and time is an important factor, given that the Iranians continue
to progress toward overcoming their technological difficulties in
enriching uranium," he said.
The 10 nonpermanent members of the Security Council, which rotate for
two-year terms, are: Argentina, Denmark, Greece, Japan, Tanzania, Congo
Republic, Ghana, Peru, Qatar and Slovakia.