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Jean Marc de La Sabliere (left), the French ambassador to the United Nations, and Emyr Jones Parry (right), the British Ambassador to the United Nations (file photo) (epa)
May 4, 2006 -- The five permanent members of the UN Security Council held unscheduled consultations today on a binding Franco-British draft resolution demanding a halt to Iran's uranium enrichment.
The envoys of Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States met behind closed doors to review the text of the resolution, which was formally introduced yesterday.
UN ambassadors, meanwhile, awaited instructions from their capitals ahead of a vote in the full Security Council, which U.S. officials now say is not expected before May 9.
The Franco-British draft invokes Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which can authorize economic sanctions or even military action as a last resort in cases of threats to international peace and security. It needs at least nine "yes" votes and no veto from any of the council's five permanent members to pass.
Russia and China -- both veto-holding members of the Security Council -- have made clear they do not support sanctions or military force against Iran.
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.