China: Will Oppose Tough UN Security Council Move Vs Iran
Dow Jones Newswires:
China said Friday that it will oppose a new Security Council resolution to be introduced next week by Western nations demanding Iran abandon uranium enrichment after a new report said Tehran had ignored calls to clear up suspicions that it wants a nuclear weapon.
"All we want is to work for a diplomatic solution because this region is already complicated, there are a lot of problems in the region, and we should not do anything that would cause the situation (to be) more complicated," China's Ambassador Wang Guangya. Russia also was likely to resist. READ MORE
China holds a veto in the council.
Council members said they would act urgently after the latest report from the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, even as Iran remains defiant.
"We are concerned about the continued work that Iran is doing to acquire nuclear weapons capability," U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said. "We do think there's a sense of urgency here and we hope that we can get council action just as soon as possible."
Britain, France and Germany, which had led efforts for those earlier demands, will introduce a new resolution next week with the intention of discussing it Wednesday, Britain's U.N. Ambassador Emyr Jones-Parry said.
Last month, the council had urged Iran to stop enriching uranium and asked the IAEA, to report back on Tehran's compliance in 30 days. The agency released findings earlier Friday that said Iran had ignored those demands.
The West wants the new resolution to fall under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which would require all member states, including Iran, to comply. If Iran did not, the council could then impose sanctions or even threaten military force - though ambassadors say they want a diplomatic solution.
"If Iran was prepared to comply fully with the wishes of the international community, then the next stage of the activity will not follow," Jones-Parry said. "We would get back into negotiations, which would be our preferred solution."
Iran gave no indication it was willing to heed the council. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said no Security Council resolution could make Iran give up its nuclear program.
"The Iranian nation won't give a damn about such useless resolutions," Ahmadinejad told thousands of people Friday in northwestern Iran before the IAEA report was issued.
"Today, they want to force us to give up our way through threats and sanctions but those who resort to language of coercion should know that nuclear energy is a national demand and by the grace of God, today Iran is a nuclear country," state-run television quoted him as saying.
Western nations will also have to overcome opposition from China and Russia, which are extremely wary of tough council action.
Intense opposition by those two nations during the council's last round of negotiations over Iran more than a month ago resulted in a statement that was far more watered down than the west wanted.
After reading the latest report, Wang made clear that Beijing was opposed to a new Security Council resolution that could lead to sanctions or other strong action.
Russia and China want the IAEA to play the main role and have the council stay in the background. The two fear that a tough resolution would push the council into the forefront and lead to more resolutions.
"All we want is to work for a diplomatic solution because this region is already complicated, there are a lot of problems in the region, and we should not do anything that would cause the situation (to be) more complicated," Wang said.
Bolton, on the other hand, underscored that the United States was increasingly concerned about what he said was Iran's "extensive program" to develop long- range ballistic missiles, particularly because of its status as "the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism."
He repeated earlier U.S. suggestions that Washington might go outside the Security Council to pressure Iran. The United States has previously mentioned bringing together a coalition of allies that could impose sanctions bilaterally.
"There are a variety of other things that could be undertaken within or without the Security Council," he said.