Iran sanctions action delayed

( Reuters ) - The world's major powers agreed on Friday to delay a vote on tougher sanctions on Iran until late November at the earliest, depending on reports by the U.N. nuclear watchdog and a European Union negotiator.

The United States and France had sought swifter action to step up economic and political pressure on the Islamic Republic over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, which the West suspects is aimed at developing nuclear arms.

But foreign ministers of the United States, Russia, China, Germany, France and Britain asked EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana to hold more talks with Iran's national security chief, Ali Larijani, while the International Atomic Energy Agency tries to clear up doubts about past nuclear activities.

"We agree to finalize a text for a third U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution ... with the intention of bringing it to a vote ... unless the November reports of Dr. Solana and (IAEA chief) Dr. (Mohamed) ElBaradei show a positive outcome of their efforts," they said in a joint statement.

The decision to make another stab at the European Union-led diplomacy while brandishing the threat of fresh sanctions if it fails reflected a compromise among the major powers.

In a sign of the divisions, Russia stressed negotiations while the United States emphasized the threat of sanctions.

"What we discussed is to concentrate on doing everything to help negotiations to succeed," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters.

In contrast, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the big powers would carefully assess whether the IAEA and EU make headway, adding "we can move to Security Council sanctions should there not be progress."

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said the ministers reviewed a list of 14 possible sanctions, ranging from financial and investment freezes to travel and visa bans, an arms embargo and possible restrictions on oil trading.

He told reporters it was a success that the international community had remained united, praising Lavrov for dropping his opposition to any mention of the prospect of more sanctions.

The group's political directors are likely to meet twice over the next month to draft a new sanctions resolution ahead of reports from Solana and the IAEA in late November.

A European diplomat involved in the process called the statement "a victory for unity over haste," noting that tough negotiations lay ahead both on the content of possible sanctions and on what would constitute progress by Iran.

Russia and China opposed an early move to tighten economic sanctions, saying Tehran should be given more time to cooperate with the IAEA to shed light on its past activities.

Iran's foreign minister, speaking as the major powers met elsewhere in New York, defiantly said sanctions would not change what he called Tehran's "rational" nuclear policy.

Manouchehr Mottaki told the Asia Society: "Sanctions as a political tool for exerting pressure is ineffective in making Iran change its basically rational policy choice."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's defiant statements at the U.N. General Assembly this week that the nuclear issue is "closed" and that Tehran will ignore the Security Council appeared to have little effect on the debate.

Iran says its nuclear program is to generate power so that it can export more of its valuable oil and gas.

Despite Western criticism of ElBaradei's agreement with Iran on a work program to clear up questions on its past nuclear activities, seen in Washington as a tactic to stall sanctions and evade the central issue of halting enrichment, the major powers' statement welcomed the accord.

"We call upon Iran, however, to produce tangible results rapidly and effectively by clarifying all outstanding issues and concerns on Iran's nuclear program, including topics which could have a military nuclear dimension," the ministers said.

Rice held separate back-to-back meetings, first with all six foreign ministers, then with just the three Europeans.

Diplomats said the purpose was to press the Europeans to take their own measures to restrict trade credits, investment and financial flows with Iran if Washington could not get Moscow and Beijing to agree to early U.N. action.

Many European officials were hesitant about acting outside the U.N. framework, arguing that the unity of the international community so far has surprised and shaken Iranian leaders, and that any split would be easy for Tehran to exploit.

"I believe that what impresses Iran the most is the unity of the six. Iran's strategy is to split the six but it hasn't succeeded so far," said German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

European investment in Iran is already falling dramatically -- British Foreign Secretary David Miliband cited a 40 percent fall in the first half of this year.

Azerbaijan reports 142 more COVID-19 recoveries
Azerbaijan reports 142 more COVID-19 recoveries
AzTV will investigate historical assasinations (PHOTO)
AzTV will investigate historical assasinations (PHOTO)
Bakcell launches internet package for online education and work
Bakcell launches internet package for online education and work
Loading Bars
29 years later: Azerbaijan marks tragic date of Khojaly genocide
ByteDance agrees to $92 million privacy settlement with U.S. TikTok users
Global COVID-19 deaths surpass 2.5 mln - Johns Hopkins University
Georgia approves draft agreement with largest oil company in Eastern Europe
Kazakhstan decreases exports to Belarus year-on-year
UAE resumes issuing travel visa for Iranians
Head of parliamentary committee talks agricultural activity in liberated Azerbaijani lands
AZAL to start to make special flights from Baku to Kyiv
OSCE PA Vice-President names Azerbaijan's challenges in post-Karabakh conflict period
Khojaly genocide - criminal act committed against mankind, against humanity, MP says
Azerbaijani FM, Israeli ambassador discuss prospects for development of bilateral co-op (PHOTO)
Russian journalists horrified by Azerbaijani Aghdam city's destruction
Netherlands Trading House may open in Azerbaijan
Supplies of 'Iskander' missiles to Armenia must be stopped – Russian expert
Baku hosts meeting with Pakistani military delegation
Pakistani FWO talks interest to co-op with Azerbaijan in infrastructure projects
Azerbaijani president receives Signify representatives via video format (PHOTO)
OSCE MG should support post-conflict rehabilitation of Azerbaijani territories - OSCE PA VP
Chairperson-in-Office of OSCE looks to visit Azerbaijan
Italy's share in Azerbaijani oil export in 2020 disclosed
Azerbaijani satellites to provide HD broadcasting to West Africa region
Hungary-Azerbaijan cooperation on ACG, Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline can expand to new areas
Khazar Consortium opens again tender for service maintenance in Turkmenistan
Conversations ongoing on potential projects between Turkmenistan, UK
Uzbekistan’s fiscal policy to continue supporting economic recovery - Fitch Ratings
Payment card turnover in Azerbaijan continues to grow
Azerbaijan’s crude oil export to China up
Hungary eyes including Azerbaijani gas in country’s future energy mix
Azerbaijani market of great interest to Russian Perm region's business circles
Azerbaijan reports 142 more COVID-19 recoveries
Azerbaijan discloses volume of foreign trade operations with Russia in Jan. 2021
Azerbaijan to use new 'cloud' technologies in audit during 2021 - Chamber of Auditors
Volume of loans issued by Georgian commercial banks down
Uzbek-Korean JSC announces tender for transport services
OSCE ready to deploy mediation missions for sustained peace in Azerbaijani liberated territories - president
CNPC in Turkmenistan opens tender for provision of gas leakage detection services
Fitch projects share of state-owned banks in Uzbekistan to reduce
"Sign of Khojaly" film demonstrated within "Justice for Khojaly" campaign (VIDEO)
OIC SecGen pays tribute to those who lost their lives in Khojaly genocide
Reconstruction of Azerbaijan’s liberated lands to deepen economic co-op with Hungary
Moderna sees $18.4 billion in sales from COVID-19 vaccine in 2021
Swiss agriculture technologies to be introduced in Kazakhstan's Almaty
Tesla short-sellers sitting on $3.5 billion weekly profits
Azerbaijani FM receives Pakistani FWO's Director General (PHOTO)
Resident of Azerbaijan's liberated Jabrayil district injured as result of mine explosion
Georgia creating new council to develop state enterprise reform strategy
Uzbekistan approves investment agreements on construction of wind farms in Bukhara region
Iran's raw steel exports shrink
Dutch company sets up concrete production plant in Uzbekistan’s Tashkent region
Georgian Railway to resume passenger transportation
Azerbaijan records growth of debit cards in January 2021
Azerbaijani company signs contracts for transportation of aluminum products to Turkey
Russia increasing supplies to Turkey along BTK railway
Main share of Czech investments in Georgia falls on energy sector
Oil refining volumes decrease in Kazakhstan year-on-year
Azerbaijan communications ministry working on stabilizing Internet in districts
Azerbaijan’s Azerishig, MERKABA-SOFT companies sign contract
Payments of Azerbaijani insurance companies double
Data on cotton yarn sales on Turkmenistan’s exchange in Jan.2021
Kazakhstan's national oil&gas company reports lower annual oil transportation volumes
Kazakhstan's KazMunayGas sees decrease in 2020 oil extraction
Azerbaijan sees Jan.2021 growth of national currency deposits in local banks
Georgia plans to hinder construction of plastics recycling plant in Kutaisi FIZ
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for February 25
AzTV will investigate historical assasinations (PHOTO)
Kazakhstan eyes to host meeting of Turkic Council countries' energy ministers in 2022
Zarif urges South Korea to release Iran's blocked assets
UK eager to restart U.S. talks on tariff removal
Saipem expects capex to rise in 2021
Central Bank of Azerbaijan announces winner of tender for survey on household plans
Central Bank of Azerbaijan shares data on revenues of Azerbaijani insurance companies
Number of trucks crossing through Iran's Jolfa border checkpoint revealed
German companies eye 'green economy' dev't projects in Kazakhstan
Kazakh investors interested in several sectors of Turkish economy
Assets of pawnshops and microcredit organizations in Uzbekistan increase
Kazakhstan's major copper company reveals its 2021 production guidance
Turkey's activity on Turkmenistan’s exchange in Jan.2021
Azerbaijani president takes part in ceremony of providing families of martyrs, disabled with apartments (PHOTO)
Details of import-export via Iran's Bushehr Province announced
President Ilham Aliyev attends opening of Shaghan Rehabilitation Pension (PHOTO)
KAZ Minerals provides update on Baimskaya Project in co-op with Russia
Military coup attempt in Armenia - PM inviting supporters to Republic Square
Uzbek agriculture ministry to create system to monitor irrigated lands
Pashinyan dismisses head of General Staff
Armenian General Staff demands Pashinyan's resignation
Azerbaijani banks' foreign currency demand down
Azerbaijan privatizes several district public properties via auctions
Turkmenistan prepares to host transport conference for landlocked developing countries
Bakcell launches internet package for online education and work
Iran starts exporting products from Tombak port
Georgian PM appoints Vice PMs
Extraction from Iran's South Pars gas field exceeds plan
Kazakhstan's KAZ Minerals reports increase in revenues
TOP-5 trading partners of Azerbaijan in Jan. 2021
Georgia to extend grace period for auto importers
Saipem’s capex down, net financial debt up in 2020
Kazakh national atomic company's subsidiary opens tender to repair vehicles
Saipem sees decrease in revenues due to slowdown of projects
Barclays lifts 2021 oil price outlook on tighter U.S. supply view
Azerbaijani MFA comments on statements by Luxembourg's FM
All news