Iran Nuclear NewsU.S. says Iran must talk or face tougher sanctions

U.S. says Iran must talk or face tougher sanctions

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Reuters: The United States urged Iran on Tuesday to sit down for talks on its nuclear programme or face tougher sanctions in winter. DUBAI, Jan 23 (Reuters) – The United States urged Iran on Tuesday to sit down for talks on its nuclear programme or face tougher sanctions in winter.

A U.N. Security Council resolution in December bans transfer of sensitive nuclear materials to Iran, whom the West suspects is trying to build a nuclear bomb, freezes financial assets of those linked with the nuclear programme and asks countries to pass on information about those on the list.

But U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns told a group of academics, diplomats and journalists in Dubai that a package of incentives offered by world powers to Iran in June in return for suspending uranium enrichment remained on the table.

“We say to the Iranians, please reconsider your state of confrontation with the rest of the world on proceeding with your nuclear programme. Please negotiate with us,” Burns said.

“If Iran does not negotiate, if (IAEA head) Dr Mohamed ElBaradei reports to the Security Council in February that it is not complying with the request of all of these countries then Iran will face a new sanctions resolution of tougher sanctions in the Security Council in the winter.”

Tehran insists its programme is for peaceful purposes only.

The Security Council resolution last December, which demands Iran suspend its uranium enrichment, also requires U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to report on Iran’s compliance by Feb. 21.

Iran has barred entry to 38 IAEA inspectors after hardliners sought retaliation for the U.N. sanctions last month and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has defiantly said more resolutions will not change its policy.

Burns called again on firms and countries to avoid doing business with Iran and condemned Russia’s completion on Monday of a contract to deliver TOR-M1 anti-aircraft systems to Tehran.

Burns said the United States did not want war with Iran but would not let the Islamic Republic threaten the flow of oil.

“We are seeking a diplomatic solution to this problem. We have no interest in a military confrontation with Iran,” he said.

“The Middle East is not … to be dominated by Iran… The interests all of us have in stability, in the free flow of oil and gas in this region have to be met. That is why you have seen the United States station two carrier battle groups in the Gulf.”

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