Iran Nuclear NewsU.S. says wants "incremental steps" to pressure Iran

U.S. says wants “incremental steps” to pressure Iran

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Reuters: The United States said on Monday it was seeking “incremental” diplomatic steps to pressure Iran to suspend its nuclear activities. WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States said on Monday it was seeking “incremental” diplomatic steps to pressure Iran to suspend its nuclear activities.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack discussed the U.S. strategy as senior diplomats from the permanent five U.N. Security Council members and Germany met in London to discuss tightening U.N. sanctions on Iran.

The United States and other Western nations believe Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian atomic program. Iran denies this, saying its nuclear program is for power generation.

Iran has failed to meet U.N. deadlines to stop its uranium enrichment, a process that can yield nuclear power plant fuel or bombs.

The London meeting of the veto-holding Security Council members — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — and Germany is the start of what could be lengthy negotiations on whether to impose fresh sanctions.

Russia, which has extensive nuclear cooperation with Iran, has questioned the utility of new U.N. sanctions, suggesting it may be difficult to secure agreement on a new resolution.

“What we think should happen is a new U.N. Security resolution … or new incremental steps … that would increase the diplomatic pressure on Iran,” McCormack told reporters.

The spokesman said he thought such steps “probably would have to” take the form of a new Security Council resolution.

“I can’t tell you exactly what form these would take but it would be diplomatic pressure on them and that I would expect the nature of the resolution to be incremental,” he said.

“This is designed to gradually increase, proportionally increase pressure on Tehran.”

The United States and several European nations, such as council members Britain and France, are pushing for additional U.N. sanctions after Iran defied a December 23 resolution. That measure imposed bans on Iran’s trade in sensitive nuclear materials in an effort to stop enrichment work.

Among the new measures under review are a mandatory travel ban on Iranian officials involved in the nuclear program, an end to government-backed loans and credits, an enlargement of the list of items Tehran cannot buy and sell and restrictions on visas to students studying nuclear-related subjects abroad.

Some of these steps were discussed ahead of the December 23 resolution but dropped largely because of Russian misgivings.

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