Major parties concerned on Thursday remained divided on a draft United Nations resolution to impose sanctions on Iran over nuclear issues with Russia demanding the postponement of a vote to the weekend.
"I do not think there is going to be a vote tomorrow (Friday),"Russia's Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said, suggesting that a vote by the 15-member Security Council be delayed to at least Saturday.
He said the parties concerned need more time for further thinking and discussions of the draft resolution drawn up by European countries, namely Britain, France and Germany.
The European sponsors had reportedly called for a vote on the draft resolution on Friday morning.
Speaking to reporters in UN headquarters during a recess of negotiations, the Russian envoy said there are still two or three difficult issues needed to be resolved. But he did not elaborate and only described them as "important."
In Washington, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the US side was seeking last minute bargaining over the text of the draft resolution as to narrow down lingering differences.
Diplomatic sources close to the negotiations among the six parties, including the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany, said the European sponsors intended to stick to their plan for a vote on Friday.
The draft under discussion demand Iran end all uranium enrichment activities and cease research and development that can make or deliver atomic bombs, according to agencies reports.
The proposed sanctions include a ban on trade with Iran in materials and technology related to its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
The resolution is a reaction to Tehran's refusal to comply with an Aug. 31 UN deadline to suspend uranium enrichment activities.
Some western countries, the United States in particular, suspect that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran has repeatedly denied such accusations, saying that its nuclear program is designed for pure civil purposes.
(Xinhua News Agency December 22, 2006)