Agreement Near on Second U.N. Resolution on Iran, U.S. Says

By Stephen Kaufman
USINFO Staff Writer

Washington - The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany (collectively known as the P5+1), which have been coordinating a response to Iran’s nuclear program, could begin drafting the text of a new resolution as soon as the week of March 5, according to the U.S. State Department.

That resolution would impose further sanctions against Iran for its nuclear activities, according to a senior State Department official.

The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a binding resolution under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter on December 23, 2006. That resolution called for freezing the assets of individuals and entities identified as having a key role in Iran's nuclear program, prohibited countries from supplying Iran with dual-use equipment and barred Iran from exporting any nuclear weapons-related equipment or technology to other countries. (See related article.)

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said March 2 that representatives from China, Russia, France, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany made “a lot of progress” on the major elements of the resolution during a two-hour conference call March 1.

Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs R. Nicholas Burns represented the United States in the call and plans to follow up with his five counterparts in another call scheduled for March 3.

The representatives are discussing what actual sanctions will apply and the parameters of those sanctions, according to McCormack.

“[W]e expect that by next week the action can shift to the perm reps up at the U.N. and they can actually start drafting the language of the resolution, the preambular paragraphs and sort of the connective tissue of these resolutions,” he said.  The new resolution will be “incremental,” building on sanctions currently in place such as restrictions on Iranian individuals and entities involved in the country’s nuclear program.

“It will be proportionate to the response that the Iranians have given the international community to this point,” McCormack said.

Earlier in the day, deputy spokesman Tom Casey said the process is proceeding in “a fairly reasonable and fairly fast way” and the United States anticipates a substantive resolution will emerge from the United Nations that "will increase the diplomatic pressure on … the Iranian regime.”

The P5+1 process is showing that the international community “remains, in broad terms, united in its desire to see Iran comply with its obligations and in understanding that there needs to be, in absence of that cooperation, additional steps taken,” Casey added. “I think it’s clearly showing that the resolve of the international community doesn’t waver.”

However, the United States had hoped a second resolution would not be necessary, Casey said, explaining the United States would prefer the Iranian government respond to international calls for it to suspend its uranium enrichment program and to engage in negotiations.

“[E]ven while we are moving forward with this next draft, the offer still remains on the table from the P5+1.  Certainly Iran has the opportunity to take that up if it wants to meet those conditions,” he said.

For additional information, see Limiting Nuclear Weapons.