SCE to AUX
- Sep 14, 2004
Was there ever any doubt?
Russia, China Won't Back Iran Sanctions
MOSCOW -- Russian and China indicated that they will not support a draft U.N. resolution imposing tough sanctions on Iran for its refusal to halt its nuclear enrichment program.
The comments by Russia's foreign minister and China's U.N. ambassador were the strongest reactions yet to the draft by the two key U.N. Security Council members, and signaled difficult negotiations ahead on the resolution drawn up by Britain, France and Germany.
"We cannot support measures that in essence are aimed at isolating Iran from the outside world, including isolating people who are called upon to conduct negotiations on the nuclear program," the Interfax news agency quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as saying Wednesday.
China's U.N. Ambassador Wang Guangya said "there are still different views on what kind of actions the council needs to do under the current circumstances."
Wang said "the major concern" is that some members want tough sanctions like those in the resolution that the council approved on Oct. 14 to punish North Korea for conducting a nuclear test.
The European draft on Iran orders all countries to prevent the sale and supply of material and technology that could contribute to Tehran's nuclear and missile programs. It imposes a travel ban and freezes the assets of people involved in these programs _ and also orders countries to freeze the assets of companies and organizations involved in Iran's nuclear and missile programs.
"I think the situation, the cases, are slightly different," Wang said. "Of course, the main concern is nuclear, but I think that North Korea had a test and the Iranians always claim that their programs are for peaceful use."
Unlike North Korea, Iran has signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, he said.
Both Russia and China, which have strong commercial ties to Tehran, agreed in principle to sanctions over Iran's defiance of the council's ultimatum to freeze uranium enrichment and dramatically improve cooperation with the U.N. probe of suspect Iranian atomic activities.
But both nations have continued to publicly push for dialogue instead of U.N. punishment, despite the collapse last month of a European Union attempt to entice Iran into talks. The EU had proposed that Iran at least temporarily freeze enrichment as a condition for multilateral talks aimed at erasing suspicions it may be trying to build nuclear arms in violation of its treaty commitments.
Wang said the question is "what is the best way out."
"We want to have a solution of the Iranian nuclear issue, whether sanctions is the right way or whether further negotiation," he said.
Rest of article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/02/AR2006110200184.html