UN adopts resolution on Iranian atomic work

Posted in UN , Other | 01-Aug-06 | Author: Warren Hoge| Source: International Herald Tribune

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton speaks after the U.N. Security Council voted to require Iran to stop its nuclear program, at the United Nations in New York July 31, 2006.
UNITED NATIONS, New York The Security Council adopted a resolution Monday demanding that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment and reprocessing work by the end of August or face the possibility of sanctions.

The vote was 14 to 1, with Qatar, the Arab representative on the council, dissenting.

Javad Zarif, the Iranian ambassador, speaking after the vote, rejected it, saying that the council was acting illegally and had no international credibility.

"Iran's peaceful nuclear program poses no threat to international peace and security, and therefore dealing with this issue in the Security Council is unwarranted and void of any legal basis or practical utility," he said.

He mocked the council for its inability to act forcefully in the current war in Lebanon, saying, "You be the judge of how much credibility this leaves for the Security Council. Millions of people around the world have already passed their judgment."

The resolution is the first move by the council on the Iranian nuclear program that is legally binding and carries the threat of sanctions.

It demands the "full and sustained suspension" of nuclear activities, including research and development, by Aug. 31, to be verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog.

It also calls on all countries to prevent the shipment to Iran of any materials that could be used in its enrichment- related activities or ballistic missile programs.

"This is the first UNSC resolution on Iran in response to its nuclear weapons program, reflecting the gravity of this situation and the unity and determination of the council," said John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador. "We hope this resolution will demonstrate to Iran that the best way to end its international isolation is to simply give up the pursuit of nuclear weapons."

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but the United States and its European allies argue that it is for bomb-making.

The final text, worked out after objections from China and Russia, noted the need for "further decisions" before any punishments for noncompliance can be adopted. Those measures include economic, travel and communication sanctions, but do not resort to military force.

Vitaly Churkin, the Russian ambassador, stressed this aspect, saying that the measure should be viewed as an interim step and that all the council members had decided was to consider further action if Iran did not cooperate.

Bolton emphasized the punishment aspects of the resolution, saying that if Iran did not comply with the council's demands, "we will be back here in a month looking at a sanctions resolution."

A number of speakers noted the failure of Iran to respond to a package of commercial and technological incentives offered to Iran on June 6 by Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.

"Our message to Iran is that we are open to negotiations, the package is quite clear, what it offers and what it requires," said Emyr Jones Parry, the British ambassador. "If Iran is prepared to take those steps, then we can move forward constructively."

Zarif countered that Iran had agreed to give an answer to the package by Aug. 22 and the council was therefore acting prematurely.

Bolton told reporters, "If you look at the entire length of the Iranian nuclear program, some 18 years, this is not exactly hasty action."