MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political commentator Pyotr Goncharov) - At their meeting in Berlin, the Iranian Six (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) have finally agreed on a Security Council draft resolution on Iran.
Moreover, it was adopted with a complete consensus. De facto, this is a Russian draft, which was vigorously advocated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. It is enough to recall his meeting with his Israeli counterpart Tsipi Livni on the eve of the consultations conducted by the Six in Berlin. When Livni appealed for a strong line during the discussion of sanctions against Iran, Lavrov replied in his usual manner - Moscow is strongly supporting the expansion of Iran's cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The most amazing thing is that the draft was rejected by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The draft goes beyond taking into account the obvious progress in Iran-IAEA relations on clearing up the remaining issues. Lavrov explained that the draft compels the UN Security Council to give exclusive support to the IAEA. In other words, priority in resolving the Iranian nuclear problem is given to the IAEA. This is what Moscow insisted on and what Tehran wanted to achieve.
The draft's additional measures of exerting influence on Iran in line with resolution 1747 do not envisage any sanctions. They amount to an appeal to all countries to display vigilance in developing contacts with Iran so as not to transgress on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Finally, the draft provides for the possibility of new talks between Iran and the Six (up to now the talks have been conducted by the European Three ( France, Germany and Britain) plus the United States. These talks will deal not only with the resolution of the Iranian nuclear problem and implementation of its legal right to develop civilian nuclear programs, but also with the expansion of economic cooperation with Iran in the nuclear sphere and with regional problems.
What could be better than that? But Ahmadinejad called the decision of the Six to adopt a new resolution on the Iranian nuclear program a mistake because in Tehran's view this problem does not exist anymore.
This small demarche by Iran is all the more surprising in the atmosphere preceding the draft's discussion. In fact, only Moscow was against tougher sanctions. Even Beijing's position was not quite clear. It is no accident that after his visit to Beijing before the consultations, Secretary of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council Said Djalili dodged answering the question about China's position on potential Security Council sanctions on the Iranian nuclear program.
Most likely, the consensus was a step to meet Moscow halfway. This is seen from Washington's and Berlin's comments on the consultations. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that the Six has shown goodwill to Iran in the hope that it will cooperate. According to the U.S. State Department, the agreements reached in Berlin point to Iran's growing isolation and failure of its attempts to split the Six. They are sending a strong signal to Iran about the need to abide by the UN Security Council resolutions.
Apparently, the consultations were not easy. The Russian delegation, primarily Lavrov, had to fight for the draft.
It is clear that the draft is also a credit of trust, and not so much in Tehran as in Moscow. The Russian minister's arguments during the consultations are not known, but it is clear that this time the bill will be presented not only to Tehran if it again refuses to abide by the previous resolutions on the suspension of all uranium-enrichment procedures.
Despite its liberal nature, the draft of a new resolution is not so innocent - it means suspended punishment. Maybe, tougher sanctions will look less scary compared to what Iran will have to face if it does not use this opportunity.