US seeks EU sanctions to force Iran back into talks

January 21st, 2012 - 7:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Jan 21 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The US expects the European Union (EU) to take steps to pressure Iran back into negotiations on its controversial nuclear activity, said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“We have a very strong partnership with the EU, and we expect to see the EU taking some additional steps to keep the pressure on Iran in the coming days,” Clinton said during a news conference with her German colleague Guido Westerwelle.

The statement came as the EU is expected to impose tough new sanctions on Tehran Monday, banning the import of Iranian oil.

Of some 2.2. million barrels of Iranian daily oil exports, 18 percent is bound for European markets, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Oil exports make up some 60 percent of the Tehran’s revenues.

Iran’s continuing “pursuit of nuclear weapons,” as well as “needless provocations” such as the threats to block the strategic Straits of Hormuz, place the Islamic Republic on a “dangerous path,” said Clinton.

“Iran does have a choice to make,” she said. “It can come back to the table… and address the nuclear programme concerns that the international community rightly has or face increasing pressure and isolation.”

“I want to underscore, we do not seek conflict,” she added. “We strongly believe the people of Iran deserve a better future.”

Western nations suspect Iran, which is already under numerous international sanctions, of pursuing a secret nuclear weapons programme but Tehran insists it needs nuclear power solely for civilian purposes.

–IANS/RIA Novosti
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