US tries to blunt Iran anti-sanctions push

The US has moved to head off a joint Turkish-Brazilian effort that could help Iran avoid new UN sanctions.

Updated: May 14, 2010, 11:23 AM IST

Washington: The United States on Thursday moved to head off a joint Turkish-Brazilian effort that could help Iran avoid new United Nations sanctions over its suspect nuclear program.

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered a blunt message to Turkey`s foreign minister, telling him that Iran is not serious about accepting international demands to prove its nuclear program peaceful. She said Tehran must face fresh penalties unless it does a quick about-face and complies.

Hillary will likely give the same message to Brazil`s foreign minister ahead of a weekend visit to Tehran by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. US officials think Iran will use the trip to try to sabotage their efforts to draft new UN Security Council sanctions. Turkey and Brazil are members of the council and are opposed to new sanctions.

State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said that in her call to Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Hillary had stressed that "in our view, Iran`s recent diplomacy was an attempt to stop Security Council action without actually taking steps to address international concerns about its nuclear program."

"There is nothing new and nothing encouraging in Iran`s recent statements," she told reporters.

"...The burden is with Iran and its lack of seriousness about engagement requires us to intensify efforts to apply greater pressure."

US officials think Iran may turn the occasion of Silva`s visit into a broader meeting that would seek to shift attention from its refusal to comply with demands that it halt uranium enrichment, which can produce fuel for a nuclear bomb.

PTI