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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia wants UN guarantees its Iran contracts to be unaffected

RIA Novosti

22/03/2007 10:52 UNITED NATIONS (New York), March 22 (RIA Novosti) - The United Nations Security Council should provide guarantees its new resolution on Iran will not undermine Russia's contracts with the Islamic Republic, the Russian envoy to the UN said Thursday.

Late Wednesday, the 15 members of the UN Security Council held their first deliberations on a resolution drafted by the five permanent members plus Germany to punish Iran for its failure to halt uranium enrichment.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said: "All of the Security Council's five permanent members will make a statement on planned financial restrictions, which will make it clear that these financial restrictions do not affect earlier signed contracts that are already being implemented."

Russia is pursuing several joint nuclear projects with Iran, the largest being a $1 billion reactor at Bushehr.

Churkin also said that the new resolution on Iran could be modified to include amendments put forward by the UN Security Council's non-permanent members, including South Africa, Qatar and Indonesia.

The South African ambassador Wednesday suggested declaring a 90-day "time out" on all sanctions against Iran if Tehran suspends uranium enrichment.

"There is a possibility of meeting the UN Security Council non-permanent members halfway on certain issues so as to provide unanimity in voting," Churkin said. "But it should not be about stronger wording, of course."

The full council will continue discussions of the draft at its next session in New York City at 5 p.m. local time Thursday.

The new resolution would ban Iranian arms exports and freeze the assets of 28 individuals and organizations involved in Iran's nuclear and missile programs. It would also impose restrictions on travel by individuals subject to sanctions, as well as on arms sales and financial assistance to the Iranian government.

The New York Times said earlier this week that Russia had stopped delivering fuel to the Bushehr plant, applauding the alleged move as evidence that U.S. pressure on the international community to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon is bearing fruit.

However, Russian officials dismissed the interpretation as false, putting down the delivery delay to a dispute over payments.



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