Reuters: A new round of United Nations sanctions against Iran could be adopted very rapidly, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on Monday.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A new round of United Nations sanctions against Iran could be adopted very rapidly, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on Monday.
Ashton said after a meeting of EU foreign ministers that the EU was open to more talks with Iran to end a stand-off over its nuclear programme, provided Tehran showed a real willingness for dialogue.
“We are supporting the process of the (U.N.) Security Council on new restrictive measures and I believe a proposal will be adopted very rapidly,” she told a news conference.
“I anticipate we’ll be talking about the next four to six weeks, though I can’t be certain at this stage.”
European diplomats have said mid-June is a target deadline for getting a fourth round of sanctions passed by the United States and its European partners to increase pressure on Iran.
Discussions have been under way for months on how to force Tehran to re-engage in talks on a fuel swap the West regards as a way to minimize the risk of Tehran deriving nuclear weapons from its uranium enrichment programme.
Iran says the programme is only for electricity generation.
“We want, of course, to keep the door open for negotiations,” Ashton said. “It has always been described as a twin-track approach.”
Ashton was scheduled to meet Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu later on Monday in Brussels.
Turkey, one of the 10 non-permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, is opposed to further sanctions against Iran and has repeatedly resisted EU attempts to shift its position. But it has offered to mediate between the West and Iran.
(Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Mark Heinrich)