London: Restrictions on trade and arms for Iran were likely to be considered at meeting on 26 February of diplomats from the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany, as the world powers seek new ways to pressure Iran to suspend parts of its nuclear programme.
Senior representatives of the six nations were to meet at London’s Foreign Office to discuss how to respond to Iran’s failure to respect a UN deadline to halt its uranium enrichment work.
The UN’s nuclear watchdog agency confirmed on 22 February that Iran had ignored a Security Council ultimatum to freeze enrichment— a possible pathway to nuclear arms — and had instead expanded its programme.
A senior British diplomat who will be attending the meeting said diplomats would examine options for further sanctions, including whittling away at lucrative export credits Iran receives from Europe in support of trade.Restrictions on arms exports to Iran are also likely to be discussed, said the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.
The US and its European allies have been urging Iran to halt its nascent enrichment programme and re-enter negotiations meant to ease concerns that Tehran could be intending to use its civilian nuclear power programme as a cover to produce weapons.
Iran has refused to give up enrichment, and insists its only interest in the technology is for the production of fuel for nuclear power plants.