Reuters: The United States said on Friday it will handle a visa request from Iran’s president to appear at the United Nations quickly and hoped he would use any trip to open talks with the West on Iran’s nuclear program. WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States said on Friday it will handle a visa request from Iran’s president to appear at the United Nations quickly and hoped he would use any trip to open talks with the West on Iran’s nuclear program.
The United States suspects Iran is using its civilian nuclear program as a cover to develop weapons. It has offered to open talks if Iran first suspends uranium enrichment, which can produce fuel for nuclear power plants or for bombs.
Iran, which says its program is for power generation, is seeking a U.S. visa for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak at the U.N. Security Council, which may vote next week on a second resolution imposing sanctions over Iran’s refusal to suspend uranium enrichment.
“We are going to do everything that we can in accordance with our host country responsibilities to expedite the issuing of any such visas,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters.
Because of U.S. law, he could not say whether a visa would be issued but stressed “we have in the past issued visas for him as well as his traveling party when they have gone to the
The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — along with Germany have agreed to impose new U.N. arms and financial sanctions on Iran for its nuclear program.
A draft resolution has been introduced for the full Security Council to consider.
“We would hope that President Ahmadinejad, when he comes before the Security Council, would take that opportunity and that moment to say that Iran has accepted the hand which has been extended in the form of the … offer to negotiate with Iran,” McCormack said.
The U.S. spokesman said he hoped Ahmadinejad would not use any appearance to launch “a screed against the Security Council or the worthlessness of Security Council resolutions.”
The new draft resolution follows one adopted in December that imposed trade sanctions on Iran’s nuclear materials and technology, and froze the assets abroad of some Iranian individuals and companies.
Iran ignored a February 21 deadline to suspend enrichment or face further action.
The new text puts an embargo on Iranian arms exports, as well as a freeze on assets of an expanded list of individuals and companies involved in Tehran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
It also calls for nations and institutions to bar new grants or loans to Iran except for “humanitarian and developmental” purposes.