Clinton: China risks isolation over Iran

January 30, 2010 01:28

Risks of Iranian bomb include "producing an arms race" in the Persian Gulf, which is "incredibly dangerous", says US Secretary of State.

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US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gestu

Hillary Clinton 311 187. (photo credit:AP)

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned on Friday it risks diplomatic isolation and disruption to its energy supplies unless it helps keep from developing nuclear weapons.

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Speaking in , said she and others who support additional sanctions on for refusing to prove it has peaceful nuclear intentions are lobbying to back new UN penalties on the Iranian government.

She said she understood 's reluctance to impose new penalties on , its third-largest supplier of oil. But she stressed that a nuclear-armed would destabilize the Persian Gulf and imperil oil shipments gets from other Arab states in the region.

There is a new push for sanctions at the UN because of 's continued refusal to engage on the matter with the five permanent members of the Security Council — , , , and the — and .

Administration officials have invited new talks with , but with no sign that wants to do business, the focus has turned to penalties.

"As we move away from the engagement track, which has not produced the result that some had hoped for, and move forward on the pressure and sanctions track, China will be under a lot of pressure to recognize the destabilizing impact that a nuclear-armed Iran would have in the Gulf, from which they receive a significant percentage of their oil supplies," Clinton said.

The is the most visible leader in the new push for UN Security Council sanctions, and spent much of her time in this week lobbying major powers whose support she needs to pass and enforce new economic penalties. Some of the additional measures that will be proposed target elements of 's powerful militia structure, US officials said.

The Obama administration has said appears bent on developing nuclear weapons, although claims its nuclear work is peaceful. is thought to have stockpiled more than enough nuclear material to manufacture a single bomb, and more is being made daily.

The risks of an Iranian bomb are manifold, said.

"It will produce an arms race," in the Persian Gulf, and will feel its very existence threatened, said in response to a question from an audience member during a speech at a French military academy. "All of that is incredibly dangerous."

The has cautioned publicly against a pre-emptive strike on 's known nuclear facilities, arguing that such an attack would invite an arms race and retaliation.

has traditionally resisted UN Security Council sanctions, saying they are counterproductive and harm efforts to persuade to prove its claim that the nuclear program is peaceful.

met Thursday in with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi to make the case to move ahead with sanctions at the United Nations. US officials said Yang's response was noncommittal.

In , said her message to the Chinese had been this: "We understand that right now it seems counterproductive to you to sanction a country from which you get so much of the natural resources your growing economy needs. But think about the longer-term implications."

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