Iran Nuclear NewsUS says would build coalition on Iran sanctions

US says would build coalition on Iran sanctions

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Reuters: The United States would want European and other countries to join in imposing travel and financial sanctions on Iran if Tehran refuses to halt nuclear enrichment, a senior U.S. official said on Monday. WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States would want European and other countries to join in imposing travel and financial sanctions on Iran if Tehran refuses to halt nuclear enrichment, a senior U.S. official said on Monday.

Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, in a television interview late Monday night, said the world must be “toughminded” as diplomacy towards Iran moves into a new phase in the U.N. Security Council.

“So in order to get the attention of the Iranians and convince them that they’ve got to roll back, you might have to arrange a coalition of countries — and I don’t know if Russia and China will be part of that –…that would apply targeted sanctions” on the ability of Iranian leaders to travel and use the international financial system, Burns said on Public Television’s “The Charlie Rose Show.”

He spoke as the International Atomic Energy Agency governing board met in Vienna to decide the next steps on Iran, which the West accuses of developing nuclear weapons. Tehran insists it only aims to produce nuclear energy.

The IAEA’s 35-member board reported Iran to the Security Council a month ago. It urged Iran to heed resolutions to halt uranium enrichment work and stop stonewalling IAEA inquiries.

Tuesday, the IAEA board will consider IAEA chief Mohammed ElBaradei’s latest report before it is sent to the council, which might eventually consider sanctions if diplomacy fails.

Burns acknowledged that not all states are amenable to imposing sanctions and suggested Washington might seek to have willing countries act outside the Security Council.

Russia and China, veto-wielding council members, have long made clear their reluctance to have the world body punish Iran.

ElBaradei said Monday a deal to defuse a standoff over Iran’s nuclear aims was still possible, with diplomats outlining a compromise that would let Tehran pursue some atomic research.

But the United States dismissed the possibility that Iran might be allowed to continue small-scale nuclear enrichment and Burns predicted the Security Council will take up Iran’s case, barring a “dramatic about-face” by Tehran.

“So unless there is dramatic about-face, I suspect the IAEA board is going to confirm the judgement of 30 days ago, in early February, and then this issue will now be taken up quite actively by the U.N. Security Council and that’s where it should be,” Burns told the conservative Heritage Foundation.

State Department spokesman Tom Casey said he was unaware of any specific small-scale enrichment proposal for Iran.

He told reporters: “You can’t be just a little pregnant. You can’t have the regime pursuing enrichment on any scale, because pursuing enrichment on any scale allows them to master the technology, complete the fuel cycle — and then that technology can easily be applied to a clandestine programme for making nuclear weapons.”

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