Official: Russia Pressing Iran on Nuclear Issue
(VOA) A U.S.
State Department official says Russia has begun to exert pressure
on Iran to comply with United Nations resolutions to end
its nuclear program.
of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns told the Senate
Banking Committee that Russia has begun applying pressure on Iran to abandon
its nuclear ambitions.
a dispute between Moscow and Tehran over a nuclear power plant
being built by the Russians at Bushehr.
said it would delay work on the plant until Iran resumes payments
for the project.
Burns says Russia’s action amounts to political pressure on
Iran as the United Nations Security Council considers tougher
sanctions on Tehran.
has been very interesting to see the Russian government over
the last week decide that they are not going to provide fuel
for the Bushehr power plant," he said. "They have
delayed the implementation schedule in 2007. The very clear
message, as we translate it, from the Russian government to
the Iranian government, is that it is not going to be business
have denied any link between the construction of the nuclear
plant at Bushehr and a draft resolution before the Security
Council that strengthens sanctions on Iran. That measure would
ban Iranian arms exports and freeze the assets of more than
two dozen individuals and organizations involved in the country’s
nuclear and missile programs.
said the European Union and Japan are becoming more inclined
to support economic sanctions to pressure Iran, but that China
is still reluctant to embrace such a strategy.
not think the Chinese are there yet, unfortunately," he
added. "We differ with the Chinese. We think the Chinese
have too much of a business as usual attitude with Iran, too
much trade going on."
of the Banking Committee, Democratic Senator Chris Dodd of
Connecticut, said he supports sanctions against Iran, but said
the Bush administration should be doing more to engage Iran
alone in my view are not sufficient," he noted. "They
must be used as effective leverage undertaken as part of a
coherent coordinated, comprehensive, diplomatic and political
strategy such that it is more beneficial for Iran to forswear
its nuclear weapons ambitions and alter behavior that is undermining
regional peace and stability."
the United States is committed to pursuing a diplomatic solution
to the challenges posed by Iran, but he said it will require
patience and persistence.
with Burns was Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial
Intelligence Stuart Levey, who said the United States has been
pressing foreign companies not to do business with Iran, including
making investments in the energy industry.
States and its allies believe Iran’s uranium enrichment program
is aimed at building nuclear weapons. Tehran argues it is for