UNSC Demands Iran Cease Enrichment

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The United Nations Security Council has adopted a resolution demanding Iran cease all uranium enrichment activities. If Iran has not done so by August 31st, sanctions may be imposed.

The council adopted a resolution demanding the suspension by a vote of 14 to 1, with Qatar, the only Arab member of the council, voting against.

The resolution, under negotiation for weeks, demands Iran "suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development."

If Tehran does not comply by August 31, the council would consider adopting "appropriate measures" under Article 41 of Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which pertains to economic sanctions, says the draft.

The resolution is the first on Iran with legally binding demands and a threat to consider sanctions. The United States and its allies suspect Iran is developing a nuclear bomb and accuse it of hiding research over 18 years.

On the eve of the anticipated vote, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a news conference the resolution was unacceptable and his country had the right "to take advantage of peaceful nuclear technology."

Germany and the council's five permanent members with veto power — the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain — negotiated the text.

But Russia and China are reluctant to impose sanctions and Moscow's U.N. ambassador, Valery Churkin, has said the sanctions provision meant the council would have "a discussion" only on punitive measures.

Churkin also said the August 31 date was to meet Iran's request that it be given until August 22 to respond to an offer in June from the six nations of an energy, commercial and technological package if Tehran suspended its nuclear work.

Britain's U.N. Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry told reporters before the vote, "Our message to Iran is that we are open to negotiations (and) the package is quite clear (in) what it offers and what it requires."

Empty words will not be enough. Slipping deadlines to allow Iran aditional time will be interpreted as weakness by Iran.

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