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Obama: Iran sanctions to come this spring

The United States is seeking to bring “tough sanctions” against Iran by “this spring,” says President Barack Obama.

The US and its Western allies are working together to secure new sanctions against Iran in the UN Security Council over Tehran’s refusal to halt its nuclear program.

“My expectation is that we are going to be able to secure strong, tough sanctions on Iran this spring,” Obama said in a news conference with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in the Czech capital, Prague.

The five permanent members of the Security Council — Britain, China, France, Russia and the US — plus Germany are scheduled to hold a meeting in New York on Thursday to discuss the Iranian nuclear issue.

“Discussions about the sanctions on Iran have been moving forward over the last several weeks. We are going to start seeing some ramped up negotiations taking place in New York in the coming weeks,” Reuters quoted Obama as saying on Wednesday.

Washington has recently stepped up its efforts to push other key world powers into voting for new sanctions against the Islamic Republic at the Council.

However, China and Russia have repeatedly urged a diplomatic solution to the country’s nuclear issue.

Medvedev, speaking at Thursday’s news conference, said, “I cannot exclude that the UN Security Council will have to look into this.”

Medvedev, however, noted that Russia would consult with other world powers to find a solution to the impasse.

“Unfortunately Tehran is not reacting to an array of constructive compromise proposals. We cannot close our eyes to this,” said Medvedev.

Tehran, as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, has repeatedly rejected accusations that its nuclear program is geared towards military applications, describing the allegations as “baseless” and “politically-motivated.”

The UN nuclear watchdog has conducted countless unannounced inspections of Iranian nuclear sites and has found no evidence supporting Western claims.

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