Fri, May 09, 2008 - Page 6 News List

Russia agrees to enforce UN sanctions against Iran


Russia has signed into law UN economic sanctions that world powers agreed to in March, according to a presidential decree published by the Kremlin yesterday.

The UN Security Council imposed a third round of sanctions on Iran on March 3 for refusing to suspend sensitive nuclear activities.

The Russian decree, signed by former president Vladimir Putin before he left office, calls for restrictions on travel and financial transactions with certain Iranian individuals and companies.

The US and other countries suspect Iran of using its civil nuclear program as a cover to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is needed to generate electricity so that it can export more of its oil and gas.

Russia has been building Iran’s first nuclear power station at Bushehr on the Gulf coast, in southwest Iran. Iranian officials say it may start up later this year.

Meanwhile, senior envoys from five of the six nations bargaining with Iran over its disputed nuclear program may try to get talks moving by making a special face-to-face appeal, US and European officials said on Wednesday.

Diplomats could deliver a new offer as soon as this weekend.

The officials said only the US would sit out the diplomatic trip. It was not clear whether the envoys would travel to Tehran or deliver the offer elsewhere. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because plans are not set.

The offer was expected to come from the top career diplomats from Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China. The US would not stand in the way.

World powers agreed last Friday to try luring Iran to the bargaining table again using a repackaged offer to accompany the deterrent of UN sanctions. At the time, diplomats were silent about just how and when they would offer the new package.

Diplomats have said that the Islamic republic sought direct contacts with at least some of the six world powers after years of inconclusive negotiations on the nuclear issue with their representative, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

Diplomats said the offer contained no major new enticements but was meant to remind Iran that talking is an option.

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