Iran Nuclear NewsThreat of more sanctions on Iran

Threat of more sanctions on Iran

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CNN: Representatives of world powers Friday announced that unless a November report shows a “positive outcome” of talks with Iran about its uranium enrichment program, they will move ahead with plans for a resolution imposing additional sanctions on the country. CNN

From Elise Labott

NEW YORK (CNN) — Representatives of world powers Friday announced that unless a November report shows a “positive outcome” of talks with Iran about its uranium enrichment program, they will move ahead with plans for a resolution imposing additional sanctions on the country.

The announcement came out of a meeting of what the participants termed the “P5 plus two.” The meeting included the U.S. secretary of state and the foreign ministers of the other four permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (Britain, China, France and Russia), along with the foreign minister of Germany and Javier Solana, the European Union foreign policy chief who has held nuclear talks with Iran.

The Security Council has repeatedly demanded that Iran suspend enrichment of uranium and has imposed limited sanctions on Tehran for refusing to comply. The United States has been trying to cut Iran off from the international financial system and the European Union is weighing its own unilateral sanctions.

The P5 plus two issued a statement Friday saying that because Iran has not suspended its “enrichment and reprocessing activities” and taken other steps called for in two previous U.N. resolutions, they agreed to “finalize a text” for another resolution with the aim of “bringing it to a vote in the U.N. Security Council unless the November reports of Dr. Solana and Dr. ElBaradei show a positive outcome of their efforts.”

Mohamed ElBaradei is director-general of the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency. He announced earlier this month that it had been able to verify the Iran’s declared nuclear material has not been diverted from peaceful use. Further, he said, while the IAEA has been unable to verify some “important aspects” regarding the nature and scope of Iran’s nuclear work, the agency and Iranian officials had agreed on a plan to resolve all outstanding issues.

In light of that, he criticized U.S. rhetoric regarding Iran and called for a slowdown in discussions of additional U.N. sanctions.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice responded by cautioning the U.N. nuclear watchdog to stick to what it does best and not interfere with international diplomacy over Iran.

This week Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told world diplomats that the agreement with the IAEA has, in the Iranian view, settled the matter.

“Iran decided to pursue the issue through its appropriate, legal path, one that runs through the IAEA, and to disregard unlawful and political impositions by the arrogant powers,” Ahmadinejad said in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly in New York. “I officially announce that in our option, the nuclear issue of Iraq is now closed and has turned into an ordinary agency matter.”

Ahmadinejad said Iran’s nuclear program is intended solely for peaceful purposes, which it has the right to pursue. He called the issue is a political one, not a legal one.

The IAEA “has verified that our activities are for peaceful purposes,” he said.

Ahmadinejad dismissed discussions within the U.N. Security Council about further sanctions, saying that the body has been “influenced by some bullying powers and failed to uphold justice and protect the rights of the Iranian people.”

The international community has failed to get Iran to take an offer of a package of economic incentives and better relations with the West in exchange for suspending its nuclear program, which the Iranians insist is solely for peaceful power generation.

Friday’s P5 plus two meeting came amid heightened tensions between Iran and the West. In addition to increased U.S. rhetoric against Iran, France’s foreign minister last week said the world should be prepared for a war with Iran as a worst-case scenario if Tehran developed a nuclear weapon.

Ahmadinejad’s visit to the United States, to attend the annual meeting of world leaders at the United Nations and give a speech Monday at Columbia University, has generated controversy and sparked demonstrations.

“There are two or three powers that think that they have the right to monopolize all science and all knowledge, and they expect the Iranian people, the Iranian nation, to turn to others to get fuel,” he said. “What position are you in to question the peaceful purposes of other people who want nuclear power? We do not believe in nuclear weapons. Period. It goes against the whole grain of humanity.”

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