Iran Nuclear NewsReport builds Iran sanctions case: US

Report builds Iran sanctions case: US

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ImageAFP: The United States said Friday that a UN report stating that Iran may be working on a nuclear warhead bolstered the case for tougher sanctions on the Islamic republic. ImageWASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States said Friday that a UN report stating that Iran may be working on a nuclear warhead bolstered the case for tougher sanctions on the Islamic republic.

State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters that the report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) "underscores the ongoing questions and concerns that we have about Iran's nuclear activity."

"If Iran continues on its current course, fails to engage constructively, fails to answer the questions that the United States has and the international community has, then it is going to face increasing pressure, including increasing sanctions," Crowley said.

The IAEA's new chief Yukiya Amano, in a blunt first report to the UN watchdog's board of governors on Thursday, expressed concern that Iran might be seeking to develop a nuclear warhead.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is commander-in-chief, denied that the nation was seeking atomic weapons which he said would go against the nation's religious beliefs.

Asked how the United States felt about Khamenei's reaction, Crowley said: "Not surprised."

US President Barack Obama reached out to Iran after taking office last year, offering dialogue to help resolve three decades of animosity between the two nations.

But the Obama administration's concerns have been growing about Iran's nuclear activities and human rights record.

Britain, France and Germany support tougher sanctions against Iran. But China is hesitant and Russia, while critical of Tehran's behavior, says it opposes the type of "crippling" sanctions sought by Israel.

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