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Britain supports sanctions to tackle Iran: Report

UK is angling for a UN resolution that would allow sanctions and even the use of force if Iran refuses to stop its nuclear work.

india Updated: Mar 22, 2006 19:02 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

Britain is angling for a United Nations resolution that would allow sanctions and even the use of force if Iran refuses to stop its disputed nuclear work, a British newspaper said on Wednesday.

Quoting a confidential letter written last week by John Sawers, a top British diplomat, The Times said London hoped to win Russian and Chinese support in the coming months for a so-called Chapter VII resolution demanding that Iran halt its nuclear activities.

A refusal by Iran to comply with such a resolution would compel the UN Security Council to enforce it.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Security Council put off a scheduled meeting on the Iranian nuclear crisis to a later date to allow more work on a Franco-British statement to take into account Russian objections, a Western diplomat said.

The diplomat, who requested anonymity, said no new date had yet been set for the talks although contacts would continue throughout the day.

Sawers, political director at the British Foreign Office, hosted talks on Iran in New York on Monday between the five permanent Security Council members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- and Germany.

Days earlier, on March 16, Sawers penned his confidential letter and sent it to his American, French and German counterparts, The Times reported.

"They (the Iranians) will need to know that more serious measures are likely. This means putting the Iran dossier on to a Chapter VII basis," he wrote.

Sawers proposed making a suspension of all uranium enrichment by Iran "a mandatory requirement of the Security Council, in a resolution we should aim to adopt, I say, early May."

Before such a move was made, however, the British diplomat suggested that Iran be given a final chance in the form of a "revised offer" of incentives as a face-saving route to back down peacefully, The Times said.

The newspaper described the British proposal as a bid to reach a compromise between the Security Council's five permanent powers.

First Published: Mar 22, 2006 19:02 IST