Major Powers Resume Iran Sanctions Talk as Ahmadinejad Threatens US

 

Six major powers resumed talks last night on possible new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear ambitions.

By Richard Spencer and Nick Allen
Published: 7:30AM BST 15 Apr 2010

The resumption of talks came as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president warned that he could scupper America’s Middle East policy if the US continued to confront his government.

The closed door meeting at the US mission to the United Nations in New York included envoys from the five veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council – the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China – plus Germany.

It was the second meeting in a week since China, which has close economic ties with Iran, agreed to join the talks.

The US and its Western allies are pressing for quick adoption of an array of tough sanctions. On the table at the closed-door meeting was a draft UN resolution circulated by the US in January.

It focuses on five areas – strengthening the existing arms embargo, punishing members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, new sanctions on energy, and strengthened sanctions on shipping, and further ones on finance, a UN diplomat said.

Both China and Russia are still hoping that diplomacy will lead Iran to negotiate and have indicated they will only agree to much weaker measures if Tehran refuses.

Although President Barack Obama has called for Security Council action in weeks, a diplomatic source said the gap between the two sides is wide, and it’s much more likely that a resolution will not be put to a vote until June.

Mr Ahmadinejad has warned he could scupper American policy across the Middle East if the Washington continues to confront his government over its nuclear ambitions.

Mr Ahmadinejad used a television interview on Tuesday night to draw a direct link between pressure on Iran’s nuclear programme and its support for “resistance” – a codeword for Islamic militant groups such as Hizbollah and Hamas, and anti-American Shia forces in Iraq.

He said: “They (the US) have security problems in the world and their influence in Iraq and Afghanistan is vanishing.

“They see that waves of hope, justice-seeking and resistance are rising all over the world inspired by Iran. They want to dominate the world, but Iran doesn’t let them.”

Mr Ahmadinejad’s interview came as Sergei Kiriyenko, the head of Russia state nuclear corporation announced that a nuclear reactor set to be built by Russia in Iran was scheduled to open in August. He said that the plans did not “threaten the regime of non-proliferation in any way.”

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