The world may be moving closer to new action against Iran with the circulation of a draft resolution amongst Security Council members. A special panel could be established to document failures to comply with previous resolutions.
The text developed by the USA first notes the mounting failures in Iran's compliance with previous resolutions and calls from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for full cooperation. In particular among these was the construction of an underground facility for future uranium enrichment near Qom.
Not only was this a clear violation of a longstanding resolution that Iran should cease activities related to uranium enrichment, but it also violated the country's safeguards agreements with the IAEA under which it should notify the agency when the decision is taken to build a nuclear facility.
Most recently, Iran "enriched uranium to 20%, and did so without notifying the IAEA with sufficient time for it to adjust the existing safeguards procedures," according to the draft.
After these any many other complaints, the draft resolution proposes a series of actions from the countries of the world to limit activities of banks, individuals and military units that are seen as connected to possible nuclear weapons and missile development.
Under the text it would also be prohibited for any state to allow Iran to gain an interest in commercial nuclear activities. And other countries would also be bound to inspect any shipment they thought could contain proliferation-sensitive goods bound for Iran and seize and destroy any such items they find.
A whole range of armaments are ominously mentioned in the draft, so that no country would supply Iran with "battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, large calibre artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles or missile systems."
On the other hand, the draft "stresses the willingness of China, France, Germany, Russia and the USA" to enhance diplomacy and "resume dialogue with Iran on the nuclear issue without preconditions."
It said that the offer made by that group, the P5+1, in June 2008 "remains on the table." That means "once the confidence of the international community in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program is restored, it will be treated in the same manner as that of any non-nuclear weapons state party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons."
To meet those requirements Iran would have to allow a full characterisation of its activities and be more forthcoming on historic research programs which have no connection to nuclear power, but appear to be vital to a nuclear weapons program. In return, Iran would enjoy support for the construction of a "state-of-the-art" light-water reactor with legally binding fuel supply guarantees. It would also have cooperation on management of used nuclear fuel and radioactive waste.
There could be steps towards normalisation of trade and economic relations, including "full integration into international structures, including the World Trade Organisation" that would increase foreign investment in the country and improve Iranian access to external money markets.
Panel of Experts
A new element in this saga is the draft's proposal for a panel of eight experts that would, among other things, gather information on the implementation of resolutions already passed against Iran "and in particular incidents of non-compliance." It would report to the Security Council within 90 days of starting work and 30 days before the end of a one-year tenure.
The draft text has the approval of the P5+1 but must be passed by the entire Security Council. Its success there depends in part on the attitudes of Turkey and Brazil, which recently came to Iran's aid by supporting its proposals for uranium fuel swapping to enable the refuelling of a research reactor.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News