Australia slaps fresh sanctions on Iran

Canberra to restrict dealing with Iran's petroleum and financial sectors over nuclear program, AFP reports.

December 6, 2011 07:41
2 minute read.
Australian FM Kevin Rudd

Australian FM Kevin Rudd_311. (photo credit: Reuters)


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Australia slapped fresh sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program that restrict dealing with the Islamic Republic's petroleum and financial sectors, AFP reported Tuesday.

The country joined the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom in widening sanctions against Iran as the European Union mulls the possibility of an oil embargo.

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According to Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, Canberra has grown increasingly concerned about Iran's nuclear program.

He called on Tehran to follow the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency and engage the "international community on its nuclear program," AFP quoted Rudd as saying.

A senior US official on Monday said the situation over Iran's nuclear program was becoming increasingly worrying and an urgent diplomatic solution needs to be found.

The US and Israel have not ruled out military action against Iran's nuclear facilities if diplomacy fails to resolve a dispute over a program they suspect is aimed at developing atomic weapons.

Iran denies it is seeking nuclear weapons and says it would respond to any strike by attacking Israel and US interests in the Gulf.

"Iran is violating international obligations and norms. It is becoming a pariah state," Robert Einhorn, the US State Department senior adviser for non-proliferation and arms control, told a news conference in the South Korean capital.

"The situation in Iran has become more and more worrisome. The timeline for its nuclear program is beginning to get shorter, so it is important we take these strong steps on an urgent basis," he added.

"If we do not, pressures will grow for much stronger actions. The US favors a diplomatic solution, but if we cannot achieve a diplomatic solution soon, inevitably interests will grow in a different kind of solution. That is why we need to act soon," Einhorn said.

Iran's nuclear ambitions, its claim to have shot down a US spy drone in its airspace on Sunday and last week's storming of the British embassy in Tehran by protesters has contributed to a sharp increase in tensions in the region.

He said enforcing sanctions would force Iran to negotiate seriously.

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