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The United Nations in session (file photo) (ITAR-TASS)
March 29, 2006 -- The United Nations Security Council has unanimously approved a non-binding statement that will give Iran 30 days to comply with demands to abandon uranium enrichment activities.
The full 15-member Security Council backed the text, which was agreed after days of negotiations among the council's five permanent, veto-holding members -- Russia, the United States, China, France, and Britain.
Earlier today, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia will not support the use of force or coercion to resolve the standoff over Iran's nuclear program.
He said any idea of a forceful solution would be "highly counter-productive."
Lavrov is meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and top diplomats from Britain, France, Germany, and China in Berlin tomorrow to discuss further steps to defuse the crisis.
(compiled from agency reports)
Economic sanctions could further undermine Iran's already shaky economy (Fars)
MOVING TOWARD SANCTIONS: If the United Nations Security Council imposes sanctions on Iran, domestic support for Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad will wane, according to ALEX VATANKA, Eurasia editor for Jane's Information Group.
Vatanka told a February 24 RFE/RL briefing that "economic sanctions will hurt the average Iranian" and, consequently, many "will blame the ruling clerics" for making life difficult and "impairing the country's long term development."
Vatanka said sanctions would be a serious challenge to the Iranian government. If harsh economic sanctions were imposed, Iran's poorest population will be hurt the hardest -- and might react "as they did in the 1970s and protest in the streets." Sanctions on travel, Vatanka said, would hurt a many Iranians because "Iran is a nation of small traders" who depend on the ability to travel to earn an income. According to Vatanka, unemployment in Iran is estimated at 30 percent, "so small trading is essential to survival." Although current U.S. sanctions "haven't worked," he said, "Iranians fear an oil embargo." He stressed that "oil revenues are a major part of the economy, so it is critical to look at this sector."
Should negotiations with the European Union and the UN fail, Vatanka believes that Iran would follow a "North Korea model," since Ahmadinejad's base of support among the "Islamist militias" has been "urging withdrawal from the NPT [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty]." The Iranian government's "tactic" so far, Vatanka said, is governed by the belief that "by shouting the loudest, you'll get concessions [from the West]."
Listen to the complete panel discussion (about 60 minutes):
THE COMPLETE STORY: RFE/RL's coverage of the controversy surrounding Iran's nuclear program.
CHRONOLOGY An annotated timeline of Iran's nuclear program.