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Israel calls for 'tough' sanctions against Iran

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak on Monday called for "tough" sanctions against Iran, which he said was seeking to gain time to build a nuclear weapon.

world Updated: Dec 14, 2009 23:52 IST

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak on Monday called for "tough" sanctions against Iran, which he said was seeking to gain time to build a nuclear weapon.

"We think it is still time for diplomacy, hopefully tough diplomacy with tough sanctions, preferably under Chapter 7," Barak said on a visit to the Austrian capital, referring to an article in the United Nations' Charter regarding the action to be taken in cases of threats to peace and acts of aggression.

Barak expressed hope that the sanctions would win wide international support, starting from "the Americans, European Union, the Chinese, the Russians and the Indians".

"The wider the front the Iranians will see in front of them ... the better," Barak said.

"It's still time for diplomacy but it should be decisive, conclusive, tough sanctions-oriented diplomacy," the defence minister said.

"The Iranian side manipulates and gives contradictory answers, sometimes within the same day," he continued.

"They clearly try to manoeuvre, the same way Pakistan did it generations ago and North Korea years ago".

Iran is already labouring under three sets of UN sanctions for refusing to stop uranium enrichment, a process to make both nuclear fuel and the fissile material needed for an atomic bomb.

The United States and the European Union are in favour of a new round of sanctions. And while Russia has been reluctant to lend its support in the past, it has toughened its tone recently following the revelation that Iran had been secretly building a second uranium enrichment plant.

There is also growing frustration in the international community over Iran's refusal to sign up to a UN-backed deal on the supply of enriched uranium for a research reactor in Tehran.