Saturday, May 20, 2006

Latest on Iran's nuclear crisis

AP - VIENNA -- World powers are considering dropping U.N. Security Council involvement in Iran's nuclear file if Tehran agrees to suspend uranium enrichment but could push for sanctions backed by the threat of force if the Islamic state refuses, diplomats said Saturday.

Citing from a draft proposal being considered by the five Security Council nations plus Germany, one of the diplomats said it could still undergo revision before the six nations sit down Wednesday to approve it. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to reveal elements of the draft.

The proposal says the international community will "agree to suspend discussion of Iran's file at the Security Council," if Tehran resumes discussion on its nuclear program, suspends enrichment during such talks and lifts a ban on intrusive inspections by the U.N. nuclear watchdog. It also offers help in "the building of new light-water reactors in Iran," offers an assured supply of nuclear fuel for up to five years and asks Tehran to accept a plan that would move its enrichment program to Russia.

If Iran does not cooperate, however, the draft calls for bans on travel visas, freezing assets and banning financial transactions of key government figures and those involved in Iran's nuclear program; an arms embargo, and other measures including an embargo on shipping refined oil products to Iran. While Iran is a major exporter of crude it has a shortage of gasoline and other oil derivatives. "Where appropriate, these measures would be adopted under Chapter VII, Article 41 of the U.N. Charter," says the draft, referring to provisions that add the implicit threat of military force to a Security Council resolution.