Iran Nuclear NewsU.S. confident of Iran sanctions

U.S. confident of Iran sanctions

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CNN: The U.S. diplomat heading crucial talks on Iran’s nuclear ambitions has predicted full European support for a U.N. Security Council resolution that would allow sanctions or even force. PARIS, France (CNN) — The U.S. diplomat heading crucial talks on Iran’s nuclear ambitions has predicted full European support for a U.N. Security Council resolution that would allow sanctions or even force.

Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s meeting in Paris, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns told CNN that backing from France, Britain and Germany would see the implementation of a key U.N. resolution.

“I think you will see a serious Chapter 7 resolution emerge in the next couple of days at the United Nations,” he said.

A resolution under the U.N. Charter’s Chapter 7 makes any demands mandatory and paves the way for the use of sanctions and possibly force.

“I think the process would be a Chapter 7 resolution that would ask the Iranians to suspend their nuclear program. If Iran does not comply with that then I think it is inevitable that you’ll see an effort for a sanctions resolution to follow probably in a month or so.”

The Paris meeting was being held to discuss a response to a report released Friday by the International Atomic Energy Agency that said Iran was violating demands to halt uranium enrichment — a development that could allow it to create nuclear weapons.

At the meeting, the powerful council’s five permanent members — plus Germany — were due weigh up possible sanctions against Tehran, which has accused the United States of threatening it with nuclear attack.

But while the U.S., Britain and France were expected to back heavy trade embargoes, they face resistance from Russia and China, the other veto-wielding council nations.

Burns said there is already broad international agreement that Iran should not have a nuclear weapon and should not be allowed to proceed unfettered with a program that could produce nuclear weapons.

Iran has already dismissed the prospect of sanctions, saying Russia and China will not agree to them.

It has also complained to the United Nations about what it calls “illegal and insolent threats” by Washington — citing President George W. Bush’s refusal to rule out a nuclear strike on the country.

Iran announced last month it was ready to embark on a large scale uranium enrichment program.

It said it is legally entitled under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to provide fuel for civilian power plants.

The IAEA report released on Friday said that Iran had violated a 30-day Security Council deadline to stop its enrichment program.

The council members’ discussion of the report in Paris will make its recommendations to a May 9 meeting in New York of foreign ministers from the top Security Council nations and Germany.

The United States envisages imposing a restriction of trade in equipment that has both civilian and military uses, as well as the banning of travel and freezing the assets of key Iranians who run and oversee the country’s nuclear program.

But Iran’s foreign minister was quoted on Tuesday as saying that Russia and China had officially informed Tehran they would not back sanctions or military action over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

“The thing these two countries have officially told us and expressed in diplomatic negotiations is their opposition to sanctions and military attacks,” Manouchehr Mottaki told the Kayhan newspaper, according to the Reuters news service.

“At the current juncture, I personally believe no sanctions or anything like that will be on the agenda of the Security Council,” he said in the interview.

China and Russia both have major energy interests in Iran, the world’s fourth biggest oil exporter. In 2005, more than 11 percent of China’s crude imports came from Iran while Russia’s LUKOIL is exploring the Anaran oilfield in western Iran, Reuters said.

Burns said it is essential that the international community keep putting up barriers for Iran.

“Iran is a country right now, if you look at the actions of the Ahmedinejad government since August of 2005, it’s threatening everyone. It threatens its neighbors, it threatens Israel, it threatens to walk out of the NPT (nuclear proliferation treaty), it threatens to walk out of the IAEA if they don’t get their own way,” he said.

“Every time the U.N. Security Council, or IAEA board of governors, the whole international community, issues a statement asking the Iranians to suspend their nuclear programs, they threatened to walk out of the NPT or the IAEA.

“What they need to understand is we are very firmly opposed to what they are doing and we shall remain opposed and we have a lot of countries that agree with us that there has to be a stiff international message to Iran. That’s the kind of talk Iran needs to hear right now.”

CNN Senior European Correspondent Jim Bitterman contributed to this report.

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