UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - China on Friday offered a compromise on a U.N.
statement aimed at reining in Iran's nuclear ambitions, which Russia seems
likely to back.
At issue is a provision in the proposed text that would ask the head of the
International Atomic Energy Agency to report to the U.N. Security Council on
Russia and China have argued the IAEA chief should first report to his
35-nation board, which would diminish the role of the U.N. council.
But China's U.N. ambassador, Wang Guangya, told reporters before all 15
council members met on the Iran crisis, the report should be given to "both the
IAEA and the Security Council" simultaneously. Diplomats, speaking on condition
of anonymity, said Moscow might also accept that language.
Wang said Russia and China still had differences with a draft statement
backed by the United States, Britain and France that expresses "serious concern"
about Iran's nuclear program and asks the IAEA to report on whether Tehran had
complied with its demands. It does not threaten sanctions.
"We need to send a message ... that the Security Council is supporting
reinforcing the role of the IAEA, not to replace or take it over from IAEA,"
British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry agreed the main responsibility "has
always been and should be with the IAEA" and that all concerned would get the
"But what the United Kingdom will not accept is that the Security Council
should be fettered and that it's consideration of the subject or of a report
should depend upon prior discussion in the (IAEA) governing board," Jones Parry
The resolution suggests that a report from Mohamed ElBaradei, the IAEA
director general, on Iran's progress be sent to the council within two weeks.
But China, Russia and others say this is too short.
"I think at least four weeks to six weeks, this is my feeling," Wang said.
Moscow's U.N. ambassador, Andrei Denisov, told reporters: "The crux of the
idea is that the leading agency is the IAEA."