Russian UN official urges diplomatic solution to Iran crisis
NEW YORK, May 4 (RIA Novosti) - The UN Security Council should avoid threatening the use of force to solve a long-running crisis around Iran's controversial nuclear program, a Russian official at the organization said.
Vitaly Churkin, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, said Wednesday the issue should be solved by diplomatic means, "no matter how difficult it might be."
The United States, Britain and France drafted a Security Council resolution Wednesday demanding that Tehran halt uranium enrichment and processing, and also stop construction of a heavy-water reactor at Arak. The draft says that if Iran refused to resume a moratorium, the Security Council would consider other measures necessary to enforce the resolution.
Churkin added that the council's members agreed to continue work on the resolution Thursday, and some provisions would be corrected.
Also Wednesday, a U.S. State Department spokesman criticized Russia for supplying weapons to Iran.
"We think it is appropriate that Russia take a look at what its level of cooperation is with Iran, ... we don't think it's appropriate that they continue with arms sales to such a regime, a regime that has talked about wiping Israel off the face of the map," Sean McCormack said. "In our view, that's not a regime to whom you should be selling arms."
Mohammed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN's nuclear watchdog, reported to the Security Council last week that Iran had failed to meet the council's April 28 deadline to halt all uranium enrichment activities. His report has deepened a rift between the council's five permanent member states, with the U.S., France and Britain pressing for a new militarily enforceable resolution to make Iran abandon its nuclear program and Russia and China insisting the issue be resolved through diplomacy.
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