- Registration time
- Last login
- Online time
- 260 Hour
- Reading permission
China agrees to new Iran sanctions
By Shlomo Shamir, Haaretz Correspondent
Six world powers, including China, agreed on Wednesday to start drawing up new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program in the next few days, a source with knowledge of the talks said.
The source said representatives of Britain, the United States, France, Russia and Germany had reached agreement with Beijing during a conference call.
"It has been agreed with China to start drawing up sanctions on Iran," the source said. "Drawing up of a Security Council resolution is to begin in the next few days."
Diplomats say China has been slowly and reluctantly falling in line with the other powers involved in the negotiations on Iran by backing the idea of new U.N. sanctions against Tehran but Beijing wants any new steps to be weak.
They say the four Western powers would like a resolution to be adopted next month, before a month-long U.N. conference on the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in May, but acknowledge that negotiations will probably drag on at least until June.
World leaders accuse Iran of developing a nuclear arsenal but Tehran says its nuclear program is intended only to generate electricity.
"This is a big victory for the United States and the Europeans," said the source. "China has taken great strides."
The source gave no other details.
UN sources have said that the United States plans to present the UN Security Council with 'softer' Iran sanctions as a precursor to further sanctions.
The U.S. is apparently planning an independent initiative, outside the UN, to impose stricter sanctions on Iran along with other Western powers.
Channel 10 reports that the United States wants the sanctions to focus on the Iranian regime so the first sanction they are requesting is a limitation on the freedom of movement of the regime's senior officials.
Moreover, the powers reportedly want to raise the security restrictions on cargos entering and existing Iran, and heavy sanctions will be imposed on Iranian financial institutions.
Earlier on Wednesday, the official news agency IRNA reported that Iran plans to hold talks with China over Tehran's controversial nuclear program.
Chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili is to go to Beijing Thursday to meet Chinese officials and discuss the latest developments in the dispute over Iran's nuclear program, the report said.
While the United States, Britain and France have been in favor of imposing further sanctions against Iran, the other two permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - China and Russia - have been reluctant to back such measures.
U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday that he hoped the UN Security Council would adopt tougher sanctions against Iran within "weeks" if the Islamic republic continued to refuse to comply with the council's resolutions on the matter.
Iran has several times said the sanctions are a futile effort by the world powers to stop the country's nuclear program, and hailed China - and Russia - for resisting the introduction of new sanctions.
Tehran has consistently rejected Western charges that it is secretly pursuing a nuclear weapons program, saying its atomic projects are solely for peaceful purposes.
Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, at a joint White House news conference, made clear they felt it was time to move ahead with tougher sanctions that their governments have been negotiating with China, Russia, Germany and Britain.
"My hope is that we are going to get this done this spring," Obama said. "I'm interested in seeing that regime in place in weeks."
China, reluctant for months, is believed to be slowly falling in line in backing the idea of new sanctions.
Sarkozy said "the time has come to take decisions" on Iran and that with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, "we will make all necessary efforts to make sure that Europe as a whole engages in the sanctions regime."
Obama said the long-term consequences of a nuclear-armed Iran are unacceptable and that Tehran had so far rejected diplomatic entreaties.
"The door remains open if the Iranians choose to walk through it," he said.
Also on Tuesday, the United States failed to win overwhelming support from world economic powers for sanctions to block Tehran's nuclear ambitions as G8 foreign ministers issued an insipid statement on Iran.
In a joint statement issued after the meeting of the leading industrialized nations in Ottawa, Canada, foreign ministers of the Group of Eight countries said that an Iran with nuclear weapons is unacceptable.
"Ministers agreed to remain open to dialogue and also reaffirmed the need to take appropriate and strong steps to demonstrate international resolve to uphold the international nuclear nonproliferation regime," the communique said.