Iran Calls New Sanctions 'Worthless'

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Russia has offered this advice to their Iranian friends: Study the incentives the world's key powers are offering - including improved relations with the United States - and suspend uranium enrichment as the U.N. Security Council is demanding.

Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said there is broader consensus among the world's powers today on how to deal with Iran and a new reality on the ground that will hopefully create the right conditions for Tehran to halt enrichment.

However, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini on Tuesday called the new Security Council resolution imposing a third round of sanctions "worthless" and politically motivated.

Hosseini said Iran will move ahead with its uranium enrichment program, according to the official news agency IRNA.

Churkin talked to reporters at the United Nations about the unity of the six world powers that have been trying to maker certain that Iran's nuclear intentions are peaceful.

The U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany's foreign ministers issued a joint statement after Monday's council vote reaffirming their present approach. They would increase a package of economic incentives and political rewards, first offered in June 2006, if the Tehran government stops its nuclear activities. Buy they would push for even more sanctions if the Iran continued its defiance to the world body.

"We hope is being very carefully read in Tehran because it does indicate some very important motives. and intentions of the six in working with Iran," Churkin said. He said the entire 15-member Security Council had "rallied" around the statement.

Churkin said the ministers have dealt with Iran respectfully and have called for further diplomatic efforts and approaches to create the conditions to open negotiations.

As a first step, European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana was asked to meet Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, to address the interests and concerns of both sides, he said.

The representatives confirmed Iran's right as a member of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to develop atomic energy for peaceful purposes. They said once the international community is confident Iran's nuclear program is peaceful, it will be treated like any other non-nuclear weapon state.

Churkin said Iran does not have to worry about supplies of enriched uranium for years, anyway, now that Russia has provided the fuel for the Bushehr nuclear power plant it helped Iran build.

"That new reality on the ground should provide another incentive, another opportunity for Iran to be more accommodating to the requirement of enrichment suspension," he said.

Churkin said the U.S. has shifted from objecting to Russian participation in Bushehr to supporting the reactor project, which he called "an indication of the goodwill of the international community."

When Iran previously suspended enrichment for two years, it was only negotiating with Britain, France and Germany, Churkin said, but now the U.S., Russia and China have joined the effort.

"I would suggest that greater opportunities are there for Iran if it responds positively to the offers by the six including. overcoming its problems with the United States of America," he said.

Source: The Associated Press

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