(AFP) - Russia has rejected a draft UN resolution put forward by European powers targeting Iran's nuclear programme, saying the proposed measures did not advance objectives agreed on earlier by major world powers.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the resolution put forward Wednesday by Britain, France and Germany would not be effective in containing Iran's programme and contradicted the consensus reached by the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany, reports Trend.
"I think that in this respect the draft resolution that has been presented clearly does not further the objectives that the six powers agreed on earlier," Lavrov was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency Thursday.
Those goals, Lavrov said, are preventing proliferation of "sensitive technology" without the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency, while also keeping open "all necessary channels of communication with Iran."
The foreign ministry's deputy head, Sergei Kislyak, said separately that Russia was "carefully studying" the draft resolution. However, a "long negotiating process is required" to find a mutually acceptable decision, he was quoted as saying by Interfax.
Russia has long resisted the West's push for tough sanctions, partly due to a lucrative contract to construct Iran's first civilian nuclear power station at Bushehr.
The draft text, which proposes "necessary measures" to prevent nuclear and missile technology from reaching Iran, does not directly mention Bushehr.
The United States has called on Russia to halt nuclear cooperation with Iran, but France's UN ambassador, Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, said the Europeans favoured exempting the lucrative Bushehr project.
Kislyak told Interfax: "There are much bigger problems there than the construction of the Bushehr station."
De la Sabliere, who played a key role in drafting the proposed sanctions, said they invoked Article 41 of Chapter Seven of the UN Charter which calls for sanctions not involving the use of force.
The draft warns that the Security Council would "consider further measures" if Iran still refused to comply with a demand that it freeze uranium enrichment, a process used to produce fuel for nuclear reactors but which, if extended, can also provide the raw material for bombs.
De La Sabliere told reporters that the text also contained a freeze on assets related to Iran's nuclear and missile programs as well as travel bans on nuclear and weapons scientists.
He said the draft would be discussed Thursday among envoys of the council's five council's five veto-wielding members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- plus Germany.
He added that the punitive measures were needed to respond to Tehran's defiance following the failure of negotiations between European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani.