Britain, France and Germany Call for New Iran Sanctions

September 23, 2012  

Britain, France and Germany have officially called for new European Union sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, diplomats told AFP on Sunday.

The foreign ministers of the three countries wrote to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton last week calling for tougher measures as the showdown with Iran becomes more tense, a European diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Details of the new measures are still being worked on but EU foreign ministers will discuss the move at a meeting in Brussels on October 15, the report said.

“It is necessary that we sharpen the sanctions,” said a second western official, confirming the request.

“We think there is still time for a political solution, a diplomatic solution, and this is what we are working for. But we cannot accept nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran,” said the official, also speaking on condition of anonymity.

Ashton is to chair a meeting in New York on Thursday of the six nations — the EU three, plus the United States, Russia and China — who have been seeking to negotiate a solution with Iran.

Last week, Ashton met with Saeed Jalili, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, at the Iranian consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul.

Described simply as part of ongoing efforts “to seek a diplomatic solution,” the talks followed negotiations in Moscow in June, a meeting of the respective heads’ deputies in July and phone calls made over the summer.

Ashton confirmed after the meeting she would consult with UN partners in New York this week.

Earlier this month it was reported that EU nations are exploring a new raft of sanctions against Iran.

“We might have to decide soon a new round of sanctions in the European Union,” German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said.

He added, “I see a growing consensus between my colleagues. We will not accept a nuclear weapon for Iran.”

Meanwhile, AFP reported, UN chief Ban Ki-moon met Sunday with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who is in New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly.

“The Secretary-General urged Iran to take the measures necessary to build international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program,” a UN spokeswoman, Vannina Maestracci, told AFP.

Ban and Ahmadinejad also discussed the war in Syria and the protests in the Muslim world against a U.S.-made film that mocks Islam, the report said.

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