Russia Rejects Compromise EU-Iran Resolution
22 September 2005 -- The fate of a European Union resolution on Iran's nuclear program was up in the air today after Russia rejected a revised draft meant as a compromise.
The new text had eliminated a demand to have the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) refer Iran to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.
Iranian officials had hailed the EU move today as a "significant victory."
"The main question here was to refer the Iranian question to the United Nations Security Council," said Iranian IAEA envoy Mohammad Mehdi Akhunzadeh. "There is no consensus whatever to that effect, and I believe that that's a message, that if there is to be a solution, that it is to be through a consensus."
News agencies later quoted Russian Ambassador Grigorii Berdennikov as saying in Vienna the new EU draft was still too tough on Iran.
Diplomats say if unanimity on the new text is not reached among the IAEA's 35 board members, the EU will demand a vote its previous hard-line resolution.
Russia, China, and nonaligned countries say Iran has a right to peaceful nuclear energy. But Western states suspect Iran seeks nuclear arms -- a charge it denies.
Copyright (c) 2005. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
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