US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hosts a State Department commemoration of International Human Rights Week in Washington, 14 December 2006. The United States wants a UN Security Council vote this week imposing sanctions on Iran for its failure to freeze its uranium enrichment program, the State Department said.
Despite optimism of a U.N. Security Council vote this week on Iran’s nuclear program, Russia still voiced objections on Tuesday to a draft European resolution imposing sanctions on Tehran.
The resolution bans imports and exports of materials and technology relating to uranium enrichment, reprocessing and heavy-water reactors, as well as ballistic missile delivery systems. And to meet Russia’s objections, it excludes any mention of a light-water reactor Moscow is building at Bushehr in southwest Iran, Tehran’s first nuclear power plant.
But Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin said he wanted to delete a travel ban on leading Iranian officials and firms associated with the nuclear program. He also opposes a list of Iranians subject to an assets freeze.
The issues are the same ones that Russia, backed by China, has objected to for days in talks with five other key powers.
“We are still discussing a number of key areas,” China’s U.N. Ambassador Wang Guangya told reporters. “So far there are some differences over some areas.”
Consequently, Britain and France, who along with Germany, drafted the resolution backed by the United States, will brief the 15-member Security Council later on Tuesday without a text that is supported by Russia and China.
In Moscow, Russian Ambassador Sergei Lavrov said the draft resolution, revised earlier this month, had largely met Moscow’s concerns as a basis for a consensus decision.
But Churkin said, “There is a certain distance between basic agreement and final agreement. We are trying to cover this distance and so far we are not there yet.”
In the meantime:
The Pentagon is considering a buildup of Navy forces in the Persian Gulf as a show of force against Iran, a senior defense official said Tuesday.
Speaking on condition of anonymity because the idea has not been approved, the official said one proposal is to send a second aircraft carrier to the region amid increasing tensions with Iran, blamed for encouraging sectarian violence in neighboring Iraq as well as allegedly pursuing a nuclear weapons program.
The United Nations Security Council is continuing to do NOTHING and Iran continues to say that UNSC sanctions mean NOTHING.
The idea of building up U.S. Navy forces has been discussed over some time and it’s unclear when a decision will be made, the defense official said.
The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower is already in the region. It left the United States in late September with four other Norfolk-based ships and submarines carrying 6,500 sailors.
The flotilla headed to the Mediterranean Sea and eventually went to relieve the Norfolk-based aircraft carrier USS Enterprise strike group, which was in the region supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Also, the U.S. in late October led a naval training exercise aimed at blocking smuggling of nuclear weapons in the Persian Gulf.
The six-nation maneuvers off the coast of Iran were the first of their kind since North Korea’s Oct. 9 nuclear test and U.N. sanctions that called on the international community to conduct searches at sea to ensure the reclusive communist nation is not secretly expanding its nuclear program.
Tick Tock Tick Tock
The “POINT OF NO RETURN” clock is counting down. Russia soon will not have to worry about Bushehr and the nuclear reactor they are helping Iran build there since it will be bombed into the Gulf – as a prime target.
And President Bush is NOW sending more troops into Iraq.
Is Iran being sent a message?
The Natanz uranium enrichment complex in Natanz is pictured in this January 2, 2006 satellite image.