Putting aside differences over Georgia, the United States and Russia
joined other major powers Friday in endorsing a new draft U.N. Security
Council resolution calling on Iran to comply with international demands
to halt its uranium enrichment program. The draft, expected to be
approved by the full council next week, reaffirms existing U.N.
sanctions against Iran but contains no new ones. VOA'S David Gollust
reports from our U.N. bureau.
Unity among the major powers over
the Iranian nuclear program appeared fractured earlier this week over
U.S.-Russian discord over Georgia.
But after consultations at
the United Nations Friday, the five permanent U.N. Security Council
member countries and Germany, the P5+1, were able to agree
on a draft resolution that reaffirms the three existing sanctions
resolutions against Iran, and calls for full Iranian compliance without
Iran in June rejected a big-power offer of economic and
political incentives to halt a uranium-enrichment drive the United
States and European allies believe is weapons-related, and to return to
negotiations on its nuclear program.
The Bush administration has
been advocating a fourth and more severe sanctions resolution against
Tehran, especially in the wake of an International Atomic Energy Agency
report two weeks ago that Iran is not fully cooperating with its
Moscow called off a six-power meeting on Iran in New
York earlier this week, making clear its irritation over sharp U.S.
criticism of its invasion of Georgia last month.
At a news
conference of the Middle East Quartet Friday, Russian Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov said his government does not view additional sanctions as
timely at this point.
But, he said Russia agreed to back the
resolution reaffirming the existing sanctions to make clear that the
P5+1 remains united against Iran acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.
respect to the resolution that today was tabled on behalf of the six in
the Security Council, it pursues the primary goal to clearly reaffirm
that no one will have any doubt that the six continue to maintain their
unity with respect to the very primary goal that unites us. The goal is
to help the IAEA to ascertain that there is no military aspect to the
nuclear program in Iran," he said.
For her part, U.S.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the new draft shows the unity
of the six powers on the dual-track strategy of offering Iran
incentives to stop enrichment and penalties if it doesn't.
said the effort has not yet convinced Iran that the negotiating track
is in its best interests but said she hopes there are reasonable people
in Tehran who might want a way out from the government's current course
and reverse the country's deepening isolation.
Earlier Friday at
a Security Council meeting on the Middle East, Rice said she will ask
the council to take up the issue of Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad's verbal threats against Israel.
leader has on numerous occasions since taking office in 2005 spoken of
wiping Israel off the map, and in a General Assembly speech Tuesday
said Israel is on a definite slope to collapse.
Rice said the
call by one U.N. member country for the destruction of another is an
extraordinary circumstance and should not go unchallenged by the
"I think when we have general debates, general
discussions in the Security Council, that it is important to take note
of the really terrible things that have been said by the Iranian
president about the state of Israel, including in his most recent
speech before the United Nations General Assembly. I think it simply
isn't appropriate in civilized company, and I wanted to make that
point," she said.
In his U.N. speech, the Iranian leader also
said Zionists dominate world financial centers and manipulate
decision-making in the United States and Europe - language denounced by
Jewish groups, and by Israeli President Shimon Peres in his U.N.
message, as classic and outrageous anti-Semitism.