Iran Nuclear NewsUS liaises with Russia, China over pressuring Iran

US liaises with Russia, China over pressuring Iran

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AFP: The United States said Wednesday it was working closely with Russia and China on ratcheting up pressure on Iran if it did not suspend its sensitive nuclear program by next week as mandated by the United Nations. WASHINGTON, Feb 14, 2007 (AFP) – The United States said Wednesday it was working closely with Russia and China on ratcheting up pressure on Iran if it did not suspend its sensitive nuclear program by next week as mandated by the United Nations.

“We had very good discussions with the Russian government just over the last three or four days and also last week on this issue, and we are rather comfortable where we are with the Russian Federation and China, and the Iranians need to understand that,” said US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns.

Russia and China have strong economic interests in Iran and had watered down a UN Security Council resolution against Iran in December.

Talks between Iran, Germany, Britain, France and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) collapsed last year over Tehran’s refusal to suspend uranium enrichment in return for political and economic incentives.

That impasse led the UN Security Council to impose limited sanctions on Iran, which was given until February 21 to halt its uranium enrichment work or face more penalties, including extensive economic sanctions.

“Next week on February 21, (IAEA chief) Mohamed ElBaradei will report to the Security Council at our request on whether or not Iran is complying with the terms of (UN Security Council) Resolution 1737,” Burns told a forum in Washington.

“The obvious answer will be ‘no’ because we know that Iran has kicked out some of the IAEA inspectors,” he said.

The Security Council, Burns said, “will have to entertain the possibility of a second Security Council resolution that will gradually increase the pressure on Iran.”

He said however that an “exit door” remained for the Iranians to settle the nuclear issue diplomatically.

“What you are going to see is if the Iranians are going to essentially snub the international community” and step up their nuclear program, the sanctions would also be beefed up, Burns said.

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