Iran and the Security Council
According to yesterday’s report from the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, the effort to gain support for an effective sanctions resolution is not going well:
The latest draft resolution, introduced by Britain and France today, makes several concessions to Russia: the nuclear and missile related items that countries would be barred from selling to Iran is narrower, and no longer includes nuclear fuel for the Bushehr reactor being built by Russia. Only material and technology related to uranium enrichment, reprocessing, heavy water reactors or long-range missiles would be banned. However, other measures opposed by Russia remain in the draft, such as a travel ban and an asset freeze on entities involved in Iran’s nuclear and missile programs, and limitations on technical assistance that Iran may receive from the International Atomic Energy Agency. It is uncertain whether the latest concessions made to Russia will be sufficient to win its support.
Regardless, the resolution’s penalties are not likely to affect the pace of Iran’s nuclear and missile progress or its willingness to cooperate with the IAEA. Iran completed the installation of a second cascade of 164 P-1 centrifuges at its pilot enrichment plant at Natanz in October, and has since run the cascade using uranium hexafluoride (UF6)—a gas that can be enriched in centrifuges to make fuel for reactors or bombs. Between mid August and early November, Iran claims to have processed some 34 kg of UF6 into low-enriched uranium at Natanz. And Iran only recently agreed to let the IAEA access operating records for Natanz, which provide information on centrifuge efficiency—months after uranium enrichment work began there.