Global leaders agree on resolution on Iran nuclear programme

September 27th, 2008 - 4:41 am ICT by IANS  

New York, Sep 27 (DPA) The world’s major powers have agreed on a resolution over Iran’s nuclear programme that will be presented to the UN Security Council Friday.British Foreign Secretary David Miliband told reporters the resolution would “reaffirm” existing sanctions that have been placed on Iran over its refusal to comply with Security Council demands to halt uranium enrichment, a process that can be used to build nuclear weapons.

There will be no new round of sanctions on Iran, something the US, France and Britain had been pushing for this week. Miliband said “extensive discussions” were still going on over future steps.

Three sanctions resolutions have already been passed by the 15- nation council. A report by the UN-backed International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last week said Iran had expanded uranium enrichment activities and was not fully cooperating with the agency’s investigation.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Friday that the Security Council cannot overlook Iran’s refusal to suspend uranium enrichment or answer questions about its nuclear work posed by inspectors from the IAEA.

“We have to continue to push forward to respond to Iran’s non- response (and show) that there are negative consequences for not answering the demands of the international community,” Perino said.

Friday’s agreement between the UN Security Council’s five permanent members - US, Russia, China, France, Britain - plus Germany came after an earlier scheduled ministerial gathering to discuss new sanctions had been cancelled.

Russia had pulled out of the earlier foreign ministers meeting Wednesday, citing a busy schedule during the annual United Nations summit of world leaders. Russia and China have been reluctant to endorse more sanctions against Iran.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, during a Security Council meeting on Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories, chided the council for not focussing on the biggest threats to international peace.

The US expected the Security Council to address Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s call for the “destruction” of Israel during a speech before the General Assembly Tuesday, she said.

“When this council decides what really needs to be taken up as a threat to international peace and security, that to me makes the top of the list,” Rice said.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier welcomed the new resolution, which he said would be introduced Friday and likely approved by the council Saturday.

Western countries suspect Iran is seeking the capability to develop nuclear weapons, while Tehran maintains its programme is solely for producing civilian nuclear energy.

Miliband said that despite no agreement on new sanctions, the resolution was designed “to affirm our unity, to rally international support” for an ongoing carrot-and-stick approach against Iran, which involves offering economic incentives if it halts its programme and leaves open more sanctions if it continues.

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