(Los Angeles Times) | March 26, 2010
The new tack by U.S. and Europe is an effort to win the support of Russia and China and gain broad international backing.
By Paul Richter and Megan K. Stack
Reporting from Washington and Moscow – U.S. and European officials considering new sanctions against Iran have decided to set aside some of the harshest of the measures as they seek broader international agreement in United Nations Security Council negotiations, said diplomats involved in the talks.
In particular, U.S. officials and their allies have decided to drop any attempt to impose a ban on the export or import of refined petroleum products, concluding that such a measure would be rejected by Russia, China and possibly other members of the Security Council, the diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Though such a step could put enormous pressure on the Iranian economy, the proposal also would divide global leaders, they said.
Sanction proposals are under review by the Security Council members, who hope that a fourth round of measures will persuade Iran to halt a nuclear program that U.S. officials and others allege is aimed at building a nuclear weapon.
Iranian officials insist that their nuclear effort is entirely peaceful.
The U.S. and its allies have discussed sanctions that would further restrict Iranian access to the international financial system, insurance services and global shipping. The measures are expected to focus on the activities of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, the military service that dominates the economy and is involved in many commercial sectors.
This week, U.S., British, French and German officials joined Russian and Chinese diplomats in debating proposals for sanctions. Foreign ministry officials from the six countries took part in a conference call Wednesday.