Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Britain drafts 14-day Iran nuclear deadline

James Bone, The Times:
BRITAIN unveiled a proposal at the United Nations last night to give Iran 14 days to suspend all work linked to uranium enrichment, but stopped short of specifying any punishment.

The joint British-French text was circulated to the full 15-nation Security Council, despite continuing resistance from two veto-bearing powers, Russia and China. The draft, obtained by The Times, expresses “serious concern” about Iran’s nuclear programme and asks Tehran to comply with requirements set out by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Specifically, it calls on Iran “to re-establish full and sustained suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development. It also asks it to “reconsider” the construction of its heavy-water nuclear reactor at Arak. READ MORE

The most controversial paragraph requests the IAEA director-general to report back to the Security Council in 14 days on Iranian compliance — a provision some delegations view as an artificial deadline.

But Jean-Marc de La Sablière, the French Ambassador, said that the 14 days could be extended. If Iran does not comply within the deadline, British diplomats plan a mandatory resolution that could open the way for targeted sanctions.