Blair, Rice discuss sanctions on Iran

Rice tells reporters: We cannot continue to extend deadline after deadline.

By JONNY PAUL
October 7, 2006 15:09
2 minute read.
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British Prime Minister Tony Blair discussed on Saturday possible sanctions against Iran in a meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice when the two met for talks at his Chequers home. What's new on JPost.com Meanwhile, Rice has warned Teheran that the time to impose sanctions is drawing near. Speaking before her meeting with Tony Blair, Rice said: "We cannot continue to extend deadline after deadline after deadline or nobody will take the international system seriously."

THE IRANIAN THREAT
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On Friday evening, six key nations met in London for talks on the Iranian nuclear crisis and agreed to discuss possible sanctions against the Islamic republic in an effort to persuade Teheran to abandon its nuclear program. The discussions, between the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the UK, Russia, China, France and the US - and Germany, led British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett to say the six powers were "deeply disappointed that Iran is not prepared to suspend its enrichment related and reprocessing activities as required by the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] board and made mandatory in UN Security Council resolution 1696." UN action could start as early as next week however there are differences of opinion between the six nations. Russia and China favor diplomatic measures and not sanctions, whereas the US and UK favor immediate punitive sanctions. On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov described sanctions as "extreme measures" and that he would like to see what extra possibilities exist to pursue multiparty diplomatic efforts. Measures could include travel restrictions on Iranian officials and embargoes on missile and nuclear technology that could have dual civilian-military use. The Foreign Secretary said at Friday's meeting that they would "consult on measures" in the light of Iran's refusal to halt nuclear activities. She said: "Accordingly we will now consult on measures under article 41 of Chapter Seven of the UN Charter as envisaged in that resolution." Article 41 authorizes the Security Council to apply non-military means, such as economic or diplomatic sanctions to give "effect to its decisions." Despite fears it is developing nuclear arms, Iran says its aims are peaceful and says it is simply trying to develop nuclear energy. Earlier in the week, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said that "the door to negotiations is and will be always open," this despite that little progress had been made in his talks with Iranian officials. The six nations had also offered Iran a package of incentives in return for the suspension of its uranium enrichment program. He said the issue could only be solved through negotiations, although talks could not go on forever.


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