26 March 2010
The Obama administration is reportedly softening its stance on tough new measures against Iran in order to win the support of Russia and China for a new round of UN sanctions against Tehran. Citing unnamed officials in Washington, the ‘Wall Street Journal’ reports that previous US proposals, which would have effectively closed international airspace and waters to Iranian state-owned air cargo and shipping lines, had been abandoned. The proposed package of sanctions had also been stripped of plans targeting insurance for certain Iranian companies and the sale of Iranian bonds.
Russia and China have been reluctant to support new sanctions against Iran over its failure to comply with international demands on nuclear enrichment. The ‘Wall Street Journal’ said the revised sanctions would be more focused on "major power centers in Iran, in particular the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps," and would increase pressure on Tehran.
The US State Department refused to confirm or deny the story, but spokesman P.J. Crowley was quoted as saying: "We are seeking an appropriate resolution that puts significant pressure on the government. We continue to consult with various countries, and it is our desire to maintain unanimity. It will be a strong united statement that Iran will have to pay attention to."
In a first reaction to the report, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said of the Western powers' efforts to implement new sanctions against Iran: "They are just making a fuss. They have ended up humiliating themselves." He added: "Rest assured that your efforts will be fruitless."
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