Russia Opposes UN Sanctions on Iran — Foreign Minister
MosNews - March 9, 2006
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday that imposing U.N. Security Council sanctions on Iran would be ineffective in convincing Tehran to curb its nuclear ambitions, the Reuters news agency reports.
Sergei Lavrov also told reporters after meeting U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan that he opposed military action and questioned any measures the West might propose in the Council.
Several hours after he spoke, the five permanent members of the Security Council met to discuss a statement that Britain, France and the United States are preparing for possible adoption next week.
The statement was to have asked for a report from the IAEA in 30 days on whether Iran had cooperated with U.N. nuclear and suspended its atomic activities, diplomats said.
But one envoy, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Britain now wanted a 14-day deadline while no immediate decision had been reached among the five —- the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France.
Lavrov made clear that he wanted the IAEA rather than the Security Council to take the lead on the Iranian issue.
“We should all strive for a solution which would not endanger the ability of the IAEA to continue its work in Iran, while of course making sure that there is no danger for the nonproliferation regime,” Lavrov said.
Asked about sanctions, Lavrov said, “I don’t think sanctions as a means to solve a crisis have ever achieved a goal in the recent history.
”We must rely on the professional advice of the IAEA, the watchdog of the nonproliferation regime,“ he added.
Lavrov said the situation reminded him of years of imposing sanctions on Iraq and the subsequent U.S.-led invasion.
”It looks so deja vu, you know,“ said Lavrov, once a star in the Security Council as Russia’s U.N. ambassador from 1994 to 2004. ”I have been answering these questions regarding Iraq and I don’t believe we should engage in something which might become self-fulfilling prophesy.“
Lavrov was also asked about a statement from U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, who said that the ”international community is prepared to impose meaningful consequences“ if Iraq did not comply.
He said he would not comment on Cheney’s remarks but he added later, ”We are convinced that there is no military solution to this crisis.“
A report by IAEA Director Mohamed ElBaradei, being sent to the Security Council, will form the basis for any U.N. action. The IAEA’s governing board, which includes all five Security Council powers, decided a month ago to send Iran’s nuclear dossier to the council.
If the council does adopt an initial statement the next step is the difficult one. Normally a tougher resolution would follow demanding Iran comply and hinting at consequences.
But the West does not have Russia or China’s agreement on tough demands.
The United States and the Europeans want to ratchet up pressure slowly, set timetables, deadlines and then consider such measures, ranging from a travel ban on Iranian officials to sanctions on selling Iran oil equipment.
A resolution needs a minimum of nine votes in the Security Council and no veto. A policy statement, which carries less weight, requires the approval of all 15 member nations.
Despite the slim chance any sanctions will be imposed, Iran has fought any referral to the Security Council, which would give it a pariah status and could lead to tougher action.
The United States believes Iran, which insists its nuclear program is for energy uses only, is a cover for learning how to make a bomb. A three-year IAEA investigation has not found a smoking gun but the agency also could not determine whether the nuclear program was for peaceful purposes only.
Last updated 12/03/2006