Reuters: U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt urged on Friday all members of the United Nations to fully implement sanctions imposed on North Korea and Iran over their nuclear programmes. By Louis Charbonneau and Thomas Krumenacker
MUNICH, Germany, Feb 9 (Reuters) – U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt urged on Friday all members of the United Nations to fully implement sanctions imposed on North Korea and Iran over their nuclear programmes.
U.S. Treasury Department officials have been making the rounds in the European Union to encourage countries to get tough with their businesses, some of which European diplomats say have been reluctant to cut off business dealings with oil-rich Iran.
“Our focus now is a full and effective implementation of resolution 1737 with regard to Iran and two resolutions that don’t get enough attention, 1695 and 1718 on North Korea,” Kimmitt told Reuters at a security conference in Munich.
Iran says its programme is for peaceful energy uses only, but the EU and United States fear it is trying to develop the capability to produce nuclear weapons.
Last year, North Korea tested its first nuclear weapon.
Kimmitt has been meeting with European officials in Brussels, Berlin and elsewhere to spread the message that the resolutions have to be strictly implemented amid concerns that EU governments are dragging their feet, EU diplomats say.
All three resolutions call on U.N. member states to “put in place the authorities they need to take action to assure that none of their companies or banks are assisting” the Iranian and North Korean programmes, he said.
The sanctions against Tehran ban the transfer of sensitive nuclear materials to Iran, freeze financial assets of those linked with the nuclear programme and ask countries to pass on information about those on the list.
Although Moscow and China are unhappy about the sanctions, Kimmitt said he believed “the Chinese and Russians and other member states are themselves putting into place the (mechanisms) they need to implement that (Iran) resolution.”
Asked if they were working on a second resolution or round of sanctions against Iran, Kimmitt said the focus was on getting the world to implement the current set of U.N. sanctions.
But several European diplomats said Germany was surprised at what they described as an increasingly aggressive U.S. push to move beyond the sanctions on Iran.
Last month Germany’s Commerzbank said it would cease dollar business with Iran amid growing pressure from the United States for banks to limit Iran’s access to the global financial system. Other major banks in the world took similar action last year.
German officials told Reuters they were surprised at the pressure exerted on Commerzbank by Washington. But Kimmitt said he had found nothing but support from Berlin.
German exports to the Islamic republic fell to 3.4 billion euros ($4.42 billion) in the first 10 months of 2006 from 3.8 billion a year earlier, according to government figures.