Britain, France, Germany mull Iran sanctions - but wait for Obama
Britain, France, and Germany are formulating further sanctions if Iran continues to defy UN Security Council resolutions, but European diplomats said Friday they would not act before the start of direct talks between the United States and Iran,
The Europeans' aim was to "strengthen (US President Barack) Obama's hand during the talks as much as possible," a diplomat said in Vienna.
A European diplomat indirectly confirmed a report by the Financial Times from Thursday, which said that foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany had come up with a six-page paper listing sanctions against further Iranian officials and entities.
The measures were discussed by top diplomats of these three countries and the US, China and Russia when they met in Berlin in early February, the European diplomat said.
So far, three rounds of Security Council resolutions have not pressured Tehran into stopping its uranium enrichment programme. Iran now theoretically has enough low-enriched uranium for making a nuclear weapon in a series of further steps.
Iran has said it is enriching uranium only to fuel its nuclear reactor, and not for military purposes.
Despite Iran's nuclear activities, the Europeans want to wait until the new US administration has formulated its Iran policy that is expected to include direct dialogue, without appeasing Tehran.
Although it would make no sense to make threats at this point, the Vienna-based diplomat said, it was important to make clear what is in store for Iran if it rejected Western offers of economic and political cooperation in return for halting its nuclear programme.