US: No breakthrough on Iran sanctions
As US President Barack Obama ratchets up calls for imposing sanctions against Iran, he acknowledges that it will be difficult to reach consensus on the issue.
“Sanctions aren’t a magic wand,” Obama said at a press conference in Washington after wrapping up a two-day nuclear security summit.
“What sanctions do accomplish is, hopefully, to change the calculus of a country like Iran, so that they see that there are more costs and fewer benefits to pursuing a nuclear-weapons program,” he added.
Obama said that although China and other countries are aware of the economic impact of tougher Iran sanctions, he will push hard for speedy UN Security Council approvals against Iran for its refusal to halt its nuclear program.
The US president expressed hope that allies can reach consensus on tougher Iran sanctions.
“Words have to mean something. There have to be consequences,” he added.
Obama said China, which has close ties with Iran, particularly over oil purchases, has agreed to negotiate with the US and its allies in New York City over a new package of Iranian sanctions.
He said that Iran has the right to develop a peaceful nuclear energy program adding that Tehran is flouting world opinion by taking steps to build a nuclear weapon.
Obama’s remarks came amid stepped-up US efforts to garner international support for tougher sanctions against Iran in the UN Security Council.
Iran, a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), says its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes. The West, however, accuses the country of seeking to develop an atomic bomb.