AFP: President Barack Obama’s administration on Friday forged ahead with plans for UN Security Council sanctions against Iran without the involvement of Turkey and Brazil, senior US officials said.
WASHINGTON (AFP) — President Barack Obama’s administration on Friday forged ahead with plans for UN Security Council sanctions against Iran without the involvement of Turkey and Brazil, senior US officials said.
The officials, speaking to reporters on the condition of anonymity, at the same time reiterated strong objections to a nuclear fuel swap deal brokered by Turkey and Brazil — which has provoked an increasingly public row.
“We have been working with the full council trying to resolve any outstanding issues,” one senior official told reporters in a conference call, referring to work on a sanctions resolution against Iran.
“The Turkish and Brazilian delegations have not engaged in any detail on the text right now. So we’ve not heard their specific views on it. We’re proceeding apace on it (the resolution),” the official said.
“The effort… in New York will continue and as soon we have a good sense that the council is ready to move on this, we will have a vote on it,” the official said without elaborating.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced May 18 the United States had sealed a deal with Russia, China, Britain and France on imposing new sanctions against Iran over its refusal to halt suspect nuclear work.
The five countries make up the permanent veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council.
Clinton announced the deal in a rebuke to a surprise offer by Tehran a day earlier to avoid more sanctions by shipping most of its low-grade nuclear fuel out of the country to enrich it further and get it back for medical purposes.
That deal was brokered by Brazil and Turkey which are standing by the deal and are opposing sanctions in an increasingly public dispute with the United States.
Their votes are important among the 10 non-permanent council members.
US officials told reporters in a telephone conference call Friday that the deal — though similar to one backed by the United States last October — is unacceptable mainly because Iran still refuses to stop enriching uranium.
One senior official added that, for example, in the eight months since Iran was offered the original deal, it has “roughly doubled” its stocks of low enriched uranium.
And if Iran now ships 1,200 kilograms to Turkey under the deal brokered with Ankara and Brazilia — the quantity proposed in the original deal — “there’s more than enough (uranium) remaining to produce a nuclear bomb,” he said.
One US official said the major powers were hoping with the broader security council to “resolve any oustanding issues” on the sanctions resolution without involvement from Brazil and Turkey.
Clinton is due to host talks with Turkey’s foreign minister in Washington on Tuesday.