AFP: Europe must follow through on its pledge to impose sanctions on Iran’s energy sector in order to coax Tehran back to the negotiating table over its nuclear activities, a top US diplomat said Tuesday.
BRUSSELS, June 29, 2010 (AFP) – Europe must follow through on its pledge to impose sanctions on Iran’s energy sector in order to coax Tehran back to the negotiating table over its nuclear activities, a top US diplomat said Tuesday.
Robert Einhorn, the US coordinator for Iran sanctions, said he held meetings in Brussels with European Union officials to discuss the measures being drafted after EU leaders agreed this month to impose new sanctions.
“What we hope is that stronger measures on the pressure side, on the sanctions side will give leaders in Iran strong incentives to come to the negotiating table and work with us on a solution to the nuclear issue,” he told a press briefing.
“We very much welcome the declaration that was adopted on June 17 by the European Council. This was a strong statement of political intent to put in place effective measures that could raise the stakes for the Iranian regime.
“That was a political statement. Now the political statement needs to be translated into concrete, workable measures,” he said at the end of a two-day visit to Brussels.
The EU sanctions approved at the June summit include a ban on new investment, technical assistance and technology transfers to Iran’s huge gas and oil industry, particularly for refining and liquefied natural gas.
“All of these categories are quite important,” Einhorn said, adding: “We’re hoping for strong and detailed measures across the board.”
The details of the sanctions are set to be approved at a meeting of EU foreign ministers on July 26.
The diplomat also urged China to resist the urge to fill the void left by European companies that pull out of Iran.
“I think it’s important for Europeans who are prepared to exercise restraint and cut back their own operations in Iran to believe that China is not going to step in and fill the vacuum,” Einhorn said.
“It’s important that China recognises its responsibilities as a great power for international peace and stability and to recognise that proliferation of nuclear weapons capabilities is not in China’s interests,” he said.
He urged China to “scrupulously” implement the provisions of the latest UN Security Council sanctions against Iran.
“It should resist the temptation to take advantage of business and investment opportunities where Europeans and other responsible players have decided to step back,” he said.
“That’s an important discussion that we have to have with China.”
The UN Security Council imposed its fourth set of sanctions against Iran on June 9 for refusing to halt its uranium enrichment work, the most sensitive part of its atomic drive.
But the EU and the United States subsequently decided to impose their own sanctions on Iran’s energy sector in an effort to tighten the screws on the Islamic republic.
The United States, EU powers and Israel suspect that Iran is seeking to build a nuclear bomb, but Tehran denies the charge, insisting that its programme is a peaceful drive to produce civilian energy.