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    UN agrees on basic aspects of Iran resolution - Russian diplomat

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    The UN Security Council has agreed on the main points of a draft resolution regarding Iran's disputed nuclear activities, Russia's ambassador to the organization said Thursday.

    UNITED NATIONS (New York), December 14 (RIA Novosti) - The UN Security Council has agreed on the main points of a draft resolution regarding Iran's disputed nuclear activities, Russia's ambassador to the organization said Thursday.

    Following Tehran's refusal to halt its uranium enrichment or allow random inspections of its program in exchange for a package of incentives, Security Council members began discussing sanctions against the Islamic Republic proposed by three European states.

    "The main parameters [of the draft resolution] have been agreed upon," Vitaly Churkin said. "We are satisfied that our colleagues have basically accepted the Russian concept of the resolution."

    Russia has repeatedly said that sanctions are an ineffective way of settling the dispute with Iran, but has refused to rule out sanctions completely. The country proposed Wednesday its amendments to the resolution drafted by the U.K., France, and Germany. The United States also put forwards its amendments.

    Churkin said the Security Council had agreed that sanctions against Tehran should limit enrichment activities, fuel reprocessing, heavy water reactors and the delivery of nuclear technology.

    The sanctions proposed by the three European powers in the previous draft envisaged a ban on sales of missile and nuclear technologies to the country, the freezing of its military bank accounts and the imposition of visa restrictions on Iranian officials linked to the nuclear industry.

    But Russia and China, veto-wielding Security Council members with strong business interests in Iran, said the draft was excessively harsh, prompting the reversal of the draft resolution.

    Churkin said work on the draft was going smoothly, although some differences persisted.

    Iran has rejected the new resolution in advance.

    "The latest draft resolution of the UN Security Council is unacceptable to Iran, as it restricts Iran's right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes," Ali Larijani, the country's top nuclear negotiator, said Wednesday.

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