UNITED NATIONS -- The five permanent members of the UN Security Council reached agreement yesterday on a draft resolution telling Iran to suspend nuclear work by Aug. 31 or face the threat of sanctions.
France submitted the resolution to the full council late yesterday, and US Ambassador John Bolton said he expected it to be adopted next week. I
The resolution, which would be binding, has the support of the five Security Council members with veto power: the United States, Britain, France, Russia, and China.
It was drafted by Britain, France, and Germany and is based on a July 12 agreement reached by the foreign ministers of all six nations.
Under the agreement, Iran would be required to suspend all uranium enrichment-related and plutonium reprocessing activities, as well as construction of a heavy-water reactor.
Changes are still possible after the draft resolution is introduced to the 15-member council, and diplomats said the United States might ask for some.
Russian's UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, emphasized that the draft did not impose sanctions but agreed to ``discuss" further measures if Iran did not adhere to the resolution's demands.
Bolton stressed that the draft imposed a ``mandatory and binding requirement" for Iran to comply with IAEA demands.
He told reporters that if Iran failed to comply, ``we will move to sanctions in the Security Council."
Tehran has vigorously objected to the resolution and says its nuclear activities are to produce electrical power only. It has also indicated that it might withdraw from the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, if the resolution were adopted.
Iran's foreign minister said yesterday that Tehran is ready to hold negotiations on its nuclear program and is carefully considering a package of Western incentives aimed at resolving the dispute.