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US To Form Anti-Iran Coalition If UN Rejects Sanctions

The United States, Britain, France and Germany believe the Iranian program hides an attempt to build a nuclear weapon.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) May 03, 2006
The United States is ready to form a coalition of countries to take sanctions against Iran if the UN Security Council does not agree measures, the US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, said Tuesday.

Bolton told a Congress committee that the United States and its allies would press ahead with a first UN Security Council resolution condemning Iran even if Russia and China abstain.

He added that if one of the permanent members of the Security Council vetoed a later measure ordering sanctions, the United States would seek alternative ways to punish Iran.

"If we were faced with a veto by one of the permanent members, if for whatever reason the council couldn't fulfill its responsibilities, then I think it would be incumbent on us, and I'm sure we would press ahead to ask other countries or other groups of countries to impose those sanctions," Bolton said.

The ambassador said Iran had been "very effective at applying their oil and natural gas resources to apply leverage against countries to protect themselves" from international pressure.

He said the United States and its allies were preparing a resolution this week under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter "which will make mandatory on Iran all of the existing IAEA resolutions calling on it to suspend its uranium enrichment program and so on."

Chapter 7 allows for economic sanctions and eventually military strikes. But the first resolution is not expected to threaten sanctions.

The United States, Britain, France and Germany believe the Iranian program hides an attempt to build a nuclear weapon.

"While it would be desirable to have a unanimous Security Council when we adopt this resolution ... it's not impossible that we would proceed without them (China and Russia)", Bolton told US lawmakers.

"And if they abstain, then that resolution will go into effect, as would subsequent sanctions resolutions if we get to that point."

China and Russia, as two of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, could veto any resolution. They could abstain and the resolution would still pass if it gets a majority of at least nine votes on the 15 member council.

The White House voiced skepticism earlier at Iran's assertions that it had received assurances from China and Russia of their opposition to UN sanctions over its nuclear program.

Spokesman Scott McClellen said President George W. Bush had spoken with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday and the two had a "good" dialogue which underscored their similarity of view on the need to ensure that Iran does not obtain an atomic bomb.

"We're all united in our goal of preventing the (Iranian) regime from attaining a nuclear weapon capability or nuclear weapons," McClellan told reporters.

Iran's Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki said that Russia and China have signaled their opposition to UN sanctions and are seeking a more diplomatic approach to resolve the standoff with Iran, Tehran media reported.

"We believe now is the time to move ahead on a Chapter 7 resolution," McClellan said.

Such a provision, he said "has the force of international law to compel the regime to change its behavior."

Tehran insists it is only developing a peaceful nuclear energy program. But the International Atomic Energy Agency reported Friday that Iran had ignored a UN order to halt uranium enrichment, a key element in making a nuclear bomb.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Norht Korean President Stands Firm On Sanction Threat
Seoul (UPI) May 03, 2006
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has recently revamped army units and industrial sites in an apparent bid to prepare for tougher U.S.-led sanctions, South Korean officials say.

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