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New draft UN resolution on Iran rules out military force-Russia

RIA Novosti
Friday, February 29, 2008

The UN Security Council will not sanction using force against Iran over its controversial nuclear program, including a draft resolution that could be adopted Saturday, Russia's envoy to the UN said Friday.

Members of the Security Council held further talks Thursday on a draft UN resolution against Iran over its refusal to stop uranium enrichment. The draft text was agreed by the Iran Six -- the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany - in Berlin on January 22.

"All previous resolutions on Iran only imposed economic punitive measures," Vitaly Churkin said. "This proves the Security Council is ruling out any sanctioned use of force against the country."

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Churkin, who takes over the council presidency on Saturday, said the resolution will also be accompanied by a statement from the foreign ministers of the Iran Six, which will urge "the continued efforts of the six towards a diplomatic and political solution on this matter."

The draft set of sanctions against Iran calls for additional travel bans, asset freezes and vigilance on all banks in the Islamic Republic.

The diplomatic standoff between Iran and the West began almost six years ago over suspicions that Tehran was developing a secret weapons program. Tehran has always maintained it needs nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. Since then, two rounds of sanctions have been imposed - in December 2006 and March 2007.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN nuclear watchdog, said last week in a report that Iran had become more transparent about its nuclear program, but had failed to fully answer Western allegations that it was seeking to create nuclear weapons.

Following the report, Tehran urged the UN Security Council to give up attempts to adopt a new resolution imposing additional sanctions against the Islamic Republic, but refused to stop uranium enrichment.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday that his country had won a conclusive victory with regard to the nuclear issue.

"The Iranian people have won a conclusive victory in the nuclear issue, and no power in the world can stop the progress of our country," Ahmadinejad said.

His remarks echoed those by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who said on Tuesday that his country's nuclear program had been a "great victory" and a "remarkable achievement."

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