US attempt at sanctions in total disarray


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

October 7, 2006

U.S. Cites Deal With U.N. Members to Punish Iran

LONDON, Oct. 6 ‹ The United States said it had won agreement on Friday from the 
other four permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany 
to seek sanctions against Iran over its refusal to shut down a nuclear 
enrichment program that could be used to build bombs.

While the State Department praised the agreement, which was reached at a one-day
meeting here of senior officials from the six nations, American diplomats 
conceded that there could still be long and difficult negotiations over what 
penalties to impose and their timing.

Indeed, none of the other nations here ‹ Britain, China, France, Germany and 
Russia ‹ issued such an explicit statement after the meeting. In the past, China
and Russia have both said they would be wary of sanctions against Iran, despite 
its defiance of international demands to end nuclear enrichment.

R. Nicholas Burns, the American under secretary of state for political affairs, 
said after the meeting that whatever the other nations¹ diplomatic language, 
³What we¹ve got is an agreement to go to the Security Council² to punish Iran.

In essence, Mr. Burns said, the six nations ³concluded that Iran is not prepared
to negotiate with us² based on conditions set last spring, and that ³we¹ll go 
forward with sanctions.²

But he admitted the issue was far from decided. ³I think there¹s going to be a 
spirited debate about what kind of sanctions should be agreed to.²

Mr. Burns was the senior American negotiator at the talks for the most of the 
day because Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who traveled here from Iraq, 
was delayed when her military jet ‹ and its replacement ‹ developed mechanical 
problems, stranding her in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil for about two hours.

The German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who attended the London 
meeting, may have come closest to the American statement when he told ZDF 
television on Friday that ³if there is no new decision from inside the Iranian 
leadership, there is at present no alternative to having the Security Council 
deal with this conflict.²

Agence France-Presse quoted the French foreign minister, Philippe Douste-Blazy, 
as saying that the six nations have ³decided, in a unified manner, to work 
together in the next few days to speak about proportionate and reversible 

The debate over Iran¹s nuclear program is being conducted while the United 
States weighs a broad list of new sanctions to bring against North Korea, if it 
follows through on its threat to carry out a nuclear test.

Like his North Korean counterparts, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran has 
said he will not be intimidated by the possibility of economic and military 
sanctions. ³This nation will not be frightened by the threats,² Iran¹s state-run
television quoted him as saying Thursday.

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful uses, but the United States says 
it is a cover for making nuclear weapons.

A senior State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said 
Friday that as a result of the London meeting, senior diplomats from the six 
countries would talk next week by video conference to begin debating the list of
sanctions on Iran.

The official said that the United States and other nations would work from a 
two-page ³menu² of potential penalties that was drawn up earlier this year, and 
that the sanctions would be ordered in stages.

³The agreement we have is that we will begin a series of graduated sanction 
measures against Iran, and that we¹ll start with sanctions directed at Iran¹s 
nuclear industry,² like limits on the import of so-called dual-use technology 
and on the travel of scientists and bureaucrats involved in the Iranian nuclear 

The London meeting was called after the European Union foreign policy chief, 
Javier Solana, acting on behalf of the six nations, reported this week that he 
had reached a stalemate in negotiations with the Iranians over curtailing their 
nuclear program.

The British foreign secretary, Margaret Beckett, praised Mr. Solana and said 
there were ³two paths ahead² ‹ a negotiated end to Iran¹s enrichment program, or
sanctions ‹ and ³we regret that Iran has not yet taken the positive one.²

While Ms. Rice¹s transportation troubles in Iraq meant that she had little 
chance to participate in Friday¹s negotiations in London, she said she would be 
actively involved next week in talks over the next step with the Iranians.

³When the diplomatic course is not going to produce an outcome, then the other 
path has to be pursued,² she said. ³I think we¹re getting pretty close to that 

³The United States has always said that this can¹t go on endlessly, and we are 
already more than a month past the deadline,² she added, referring to Iran¹s 
failure to abide by the Aug. 31 deadline set by the United Nations for 
suspension of the enrichment program.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

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