Iranian FM: Sanctions a waste of effort

Says previous sanctions failed to work; US diplomat: Third resolution on sanctions "long overdue."

schulte iran 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
schulte iran 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Western powers should not waste time pushing for renewed sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, the Iranian foreign minister said Saturday, arguing that two previous rounds of sanctions have not worked. In late January, the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany circulated a statement containing the proposed elements of a draft resolution to impose more travel bans, frozen assets and other sanctions on Iran. Asked about the proposal on the sidelines of the African Union summit in Ethiopia's capital, Manouchehr Mottaki said: "I think they should learn from the last two steps in this direction. Sanctions is the literature of the 1960s and the 1970s, and does not work anymore." On Friday, a US diplomat urged Iran to fully disclose all past and present nuclear activities, and said a third United Nations resolution against the country was "long overdue." "Full disclosure is particularly important, given the US assessment that Iran was secretly pursuing nuclear weapons ... just over four years ago," Ambassador Greg Schulte, the permanent representative of the United States to the United Nations Office in Vienna, told reporters during a visit to Berlin. He said a third resolution - agreed upon last week by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany - was still being discussed in New York. "We think a resolution is long overdue," Schulte said. "It's no secret that we would have preferred tougher sanctions earlier." The draft resolution approved last week in Berlin expands and strengthens the penalties that were in the two earlier ones. It has been presented as a sign of international resolve that Iran should not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons, and of unity on the need to press the country into suspending its uranium enrichment program. Schulte said one purpose of the sanctions was to convince Iran it would only sink deeper into isolation if it did not comply with international demands. He said the United States also supported efforts by Mohamed ElBaradei, chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, to persuade Iran to abandon all nuclear activities. "The International Atomic Energy Agency needs Iran to admit and to explain those activities so that we can be confident that they will not be restarted," Schulte said, adding that the United States "remains very concerned about Iran's nuclear activities."