The five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany are yet to reach agreement on how to deal with Iran. Talks in Paris on a possible resolution that could lead to punitive action ended in stalemate last night. Senior officials from the UN Security Council’s permanent members – Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States – plus Germany, discussed how to curb an Iranian programme that Western nations fear conceals a drive for atomic warheads.
Russia and China have indicated they are opposed to sanctions. But a resolution ordering Iran to suspend uranium enrichment and threatening it with sanctions is still possible, according to Washington’s UN ambassador, Robert Bolton.
“A permanent member of the Security Council obviously has the option to veto such a resolution but a permanent member also has the option to abstain and abstaining when a permanent member abstains, that is acquiescing in the Security Council taking action, assuming otherwise there is a majority of nine votes,” Bolton said.
Iran continues to resist international pressure to suspend its nuclear program. Yesterday Tehran announced it had enriched uranium to 4.8 percent – the industry standard for civil electricity generation, and well below the 80 percent needed to produce nuclear weapons.