China and Russia object to the Security Council statement on Iran

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

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A draft U.N. Security Council statement backed by the United States, Britain, and France calling for a report in two weeks on Iran's compliance with demands that it suspend uranium enrichment was objected to by China and Russia on Tuesday. Russia and China prefer a six-week deadline and want the report to go to the International Atomic Energy Agency, rather than to the Security Council.

While the Security Council members agree that Iran should not be making nuclear weapons, they disagree on the course of action to take. Iran says that its nuclear program is for producing energy, but the IAEA has expressed a "lack of confidence" over Iran's intentions. Some nations in the west, including the U.S., claim that Iran's goal of nuclear energy production is a cover for nuclear bomb development.

The draft Security Council proposals cite "the conviction that continued Iranian enrichment-related activity would intensify international concern." They reiterate that proliferation of weapons of mass destruction "constitutes a threat to international peace and security." Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, said the nuclear program is "irreversible," and any retreat would endanger the Islamic republic's independence. Russia and China, on the other hand, are not as skeptical of Iran. They state that tough council action could cause Iran to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and to ban inspectors sent from the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Following last month's IAEA board report to the Security Council, expressing lack of confidence, Iran ended its voluntary cooperation with the IAEA under the Additional Protocol and said it would start uranium enrichment and bar surprise inspections of the facilities.