Reuters: The United States said on Thursday it does not aim to impose crippling sanctions on Iran but rather to pressure the Iranian government to change course on its nuclear program while protecting ordinary people. WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States said on Thursday it does not aim to impose crippling sanctions on Iran but rather to pressure the Iranian government to change course on its nuclear program while protecting ordinary people.
"It is not our intent to have crippling sanctions that have … a significant impact on the Iranian people," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters. "Our actual intent is … to find ways to pressure the government while protecting the people."
Western powers are pushing for a fourth U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution against Iran over its nuclear program, which the United States believes is designed to produce a nuclear weapon. Iran says its program is to generate electricity so it can export more of its valuable oil and gas.
Western powers hope the five veto-wielding permanent Security Council members and Germany can agree on a draft resolution, which they would then submit to the full council.
Diplomats, however, say that even if the so-called P5+1 nations can agree on a resolution, it could face resistance from some of the nations currently occupying the rotating slots on the Security Council, including Brazil.
In an effort to win over Brazil's support, the State Department said its point man on Iran, Undersecretary of State William Burns, would travel to Brazil on Friday ahead of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit next week.
"We will be talking to Brazil about the way forward on Iran," Crowley said. "I am certain that Undersecretary Burns will bring them up to date on the P5+1 process and so will Secretary Clinton in her meetings with the president and foreign minister next week."
(Editing by Eric Walsh)