- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 27, 2008

A new Security Council resolution calls on Iran to “comply fully, without delay” with U.N. watchdog demands but, in deference to Russia, does not call for new sanctions against Tehran’s nuclear enrichment program — a maneuver designed to signal council unity rather than compel any new action by Tehran.

The three-paragraph resolution, drafted by Britain and circulated Friday afternoon, makes no specific reference to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), enrichment, or the three previous sets of sanctions that have been imposed against Tehran.

Instead, delegates said, it is meant to showcase council unity after Moscow publicly announced it would not brook further restrictions on Iran, and broke with the West after Russian troops invaded Georgia earlier this month.

“I think it’s also especially important that the Iranians recognize that the P5 +1 process is intact,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the Reuters news agency Friday. The five permanent council members — the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia — as well as Germany have been negotiating with the Iranians through the European Union, and drafting the council’s related resolutions.

Miss Rice declined to discuss the draft with reporters after her meeting Friday morning with Pakistani President Ali Asif Zardari and others, but British Foreign Minister David Miliband said the six key countries were continuing to pursue the “twin tracks” of carrots and sticks.

“We will be presenting a short resolution … that reaffirms the unity of the [six countries], our determination to take that strategy forward with more steps,” Mr. Miliband said.

Iran has stated repeatedly that its nuclear program is meant to develop peaceful nuclear power, but the West is worried that Tehran is trying to create a covert weapons program.

In a press conference on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly session, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said nuclear weapons are “politically backward.” But in a defiant speech to the General Assembly on Tuesday, he vowed to resist U.S. “bullying.”

Separately, Miss Rice told the Security Council that she wants it to take up Mr. Ahmadinejad’s threats against Israel. Miss Rice said his comments that the Jewish state “should be wiped from the face of the map, should be destroyed and should not exist” were unacceptable, Reuters reported.

In June the six powers gave Iran a beefed-up offer of political and economic incentives, including nuclear reactors, in exchange for a suspension of its enrichment program. Tehran has said enrichment is a sovereign right it will never renounce.

Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, said this week that Moscow saw no need for a further round of sanctions now because it wants Iran to have time to study the offer.

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