Bloomberg: European Union governments will set a seven-week deadline for Iran to return to the bargaining table over its nuclear program or face stiffer sanctions, a draft EU statement said. By James G. Neuger
Dec. 9 (Bloomberg) — European Union governments will set a seven-week deadline for Iran to return to the bargaining table over its nuclear program or face stiffer sanctions, a draft EU statement said.
European foreign ministers will consider a U.S.-led push for tighter penalties at their Jan. 25-26 meeting unless Iran bows to international demands for ironclad assurances that it is not trying to build nuclear weapons.
“Iran’s persistent failure to meet its international obligations and Iran’s apparent lack of interest in pursuing negotiations require a clear response, including through appropriate measures,” said the draft, to be discussed by EU leaders at a two-day summit starting tomorrow in Brussels. “The European Union stands ready to take the necessary steps.”
European help in isolating Iran took on added importance this week after President Barack Obama failed to win a public commitment to stiffer sanctions from Turkey, now building up its trade links with Iran.
Iran says it is operating a civilian nuclear energy program and rejects Western suspicions that it is trying to build weapons. Iran has ignored three sets of United Nations sanctions designed to force it to come clean on its nuclear ambitions.
For the first time, the EU statement — which may be amended at the summit — sketches out a timeline for enacting harsher penalties. The January meeting will “consider options for next steps,” the draft says.