AFP: Key powers seeking to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions will consider strengthening non-UN measures against Iran to include financial as well as oil and gas sanctions, a Western diplomat said Friday.
WASHINGTON, February 11, 2011 (AFP) – Key powers seeking to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions will consider strengthening non-UN measures against Iran to include financial as well as oil and gas sanctions, a Western diplomat said Friday.
During talks in the Turkish city of Istanbul last month, world powers failed to persuade Iran to take steps to ease suspicions over its nuclear program as the defiant Islamic republic insisted on uranium enrichment.
“For the immediate future, one thing we will be doing with our partners is look at the scope for strengthening sanctions. We’re not talking about the UN here,” a Western diplomat told reporters on the condition of anonymity.
“We’re talking more about coordinating national measures. We’re at the early stages of that. But the obvious areas are in the financial sanctions area, number one, and number two, in the oil and gas sector,” the diplomat said.
“That’s what we’re going to be looking at in the weeks ahead,” the envoy said without identifying which countries would discuss the additional measures.
After the UN Security Council imposed a fourth set of sanctions against Iran in June last year, the United States also imposed unilateral punitive measures against the Islamic Republic.
Similar steps were taken by the European Union, Canada, Australia and Japan but they were opposed by Russia and China, now Iran’s closest trading partner.
Russia and China had, however, endorsed the UN sanctions imposed in June.
UN Security Council permanent members Russia, China, the United States, Britain and France — plus Germany — are the world powers leading the drive to halt Iran’s nuclear enrichment program.
Two days of talks in Istanbul between Iran and the six powers ended January 22 without progress and no new meeting was scheduled to tackle concerns that Tehran is secretly developing an atomic bomb.
Iran denies the charge, saying its program is purely for peaceful purposes.