Bloomberg: Group of Eight foreign ministers meeting next week in Canada will consider whether to unilaterally impose sanctions aimed at Iran’s nuclear development program should the United Nations fail to act. By Theophilos Argitis and Greg Quinn
March 26 (Bloomberg) — Group of Eight foreign ministers meeting next week in Canada will consider whether to unilaterally impose sanctions aimed at Iran’s nuclear development program should the United Nations fail to act.
“Its actions raise very serious doubts that its nuclear program is peaceful,” Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon told reporters today in Ottawa. “We are left with little choice but to pursue additional sanctions against Iran, ideally through the United Nations Security Council.”
Cannon will press for a unified set of sanctions when he hosts the meeting March 29-30 in Gatineau, Quebec. The meeting will also discuss nuclear non-proliferation, Afghanistan and security gaps in states such as Yemen that may be staging grounds for terrorists, Cannon told reporters in Ottawa.
Russia, which holds a veto in the UN Security Council, has sent contradictory signals over a tighter embargo. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said this month he was ready to consider sanctions that wouldn’t hurt civilians. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said sanctions “rarely work, but there are situations in which they become unavoidable.”
During a visit to Russia earlier this month, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged her Russian hosts to delay plans to bring a nuclear power station into operation in Iran, saying “we want to send an unequivocal message to the Iranians.”
Winning backing from Russia may help to sway China to also agree to sanctions. China also holds a UN Security Council permanent seat with veto power and hasn’t yet said whether it would go along with more sanctions on Iran.
As pressure from the U.S. and European Union has mounted, Iran has increasingly looked to China and the rest of East Asia.
Iran is China’s third-biggest supplier of oil, and the biggest source of liquefied petroleum gas and liquid propane. Chinese companies will also help to develop Iran’s railway system and assist the Persian Gulf state in its mining and building industries.
National Iranian Oil Co. last June said it signed a $5 billion contract with China National Petroleum Corp. to develop Phase 11 of the South Pars gas field, the world’s biggest reservoir of the fuel. China National replaced France’s Total SA as Iran’s partner on the project.
The U.S. has given China, Britain, France, Russia and Germany a proposal to tighten restrictions on dealings with Iran’s banking, shipping and insurance industries to pressure the regime. The plan also targets the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps that Clinton said has largely taken control of the nation.
Cannon also said he is monitoring reports that a South Korean naval vessel sank in the Yellow Sea near the border with North Korea, and declined to comment further.