solana eu iran 298.
(photo credit: AP)
The European Union on Tuesday backed arranging for limited UN sanctions against Iran after the Islamic state refused to suspend uranian enrichment.
The EU stressed that "the door to negotiations nevertheless remain[s] open," despite its "deep concern" that Iran has not yet complied with International Atomic Energy Agency requirements for it to stop its enrichment-related activities.
Still, the EU's council of 25 foreign ministers said this lack of compliance "has left the EU no choice but to support consultations" on sanctions.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mark Regev said the "significance" of the council's statement was that it "passed the Iranian issue back to the Security Council, and that's where it belongs." He added, "It's important that the Iranian leadership understand that the failure to comply with the will of the international community will have tangible consequences."
The United Nations Security Council is expected to begin working towards sanctions in the coming days.
Washington has called for broad sanctions, such as a total ban on missile and nuclear technology sales, while the Russians and Chinese backed prohibitions of selected items as a first step.
EU nations have not decided what sanctions they might support against Teheran, but are leaning toward softer measures.
"Iran continues to refuse to suspend its uranium enrichment. So we have no other choice but to take this to the United Nations Security Council," French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said following Tuesday's meeting.
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who has led talks with Iran on behalf of the EU, had a one-hour phone conversation with top Iranian negotiator Ali Larijani on Monday. "There is nothing, nothing, nothing new. The situation hasn't changed," he told reporters.
Solana said Iran continued to refuse to suspend its nuclear enrichment program during future negotiations on its nuclear program. "We have to see if we can overcome the situation that makes it impossible to start negotiations," he said.
Solana's negotiations with Teheran were seen as a final bid to avoid a full-blown confrontation between Iran and the UN after it ignored an August 31 deadline to suspend enrichment or face punishment. AP contributed to this report.