US: Iran might face new 'punitive' UN sanctions

Updated: 2008-01-25 07:30

JERUSALEM - Visiting US Undersecretary of State for political affairs Nicholas Burns said here Thursday that Iran might face a new UN resolution with punitive sanctions against its nuclear program, local media reported.

Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns gestures during a news conference at the end of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) ministerial meeting in Madrid, November 30, 2007. Burns departed on Wednesday for Israel and the Palestinian Territories for talks on regional issues including Iran's nuclear program, the State Department said. [Agencies]

"This is a punitive resolution. I say this because I saw some comments yesterday from Moscow that it wasn't, (but) it is, " the third highest diplomat of the US State Department was quoted by the website of Yedioth Ahronoth as saying after talks with Israeli officials in Jerusalem.

Burns, during a trip for talks with the Israelis over the framework of strategic cooperation, said the new resolution would be tabled Thursday or Friday, and there would be several weeks of discussion and debate before a vote.

He mentioned he was confident that the resolution would pass, as all five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the US , Britain, France, Russia and China - are working to build on elements of a text agreed by foreign ministers in Berlin Tuesday.

"We are confident that it will pass, we know it is the right step. Iran is flagrantly out of compliance with its Security Council obligations," he was quoted.

"The new resolution builds on the last two resolutions in many of the same categories," which include a travel ban on certain Iranian officials, freezing of assets of some institutions and a ban on exports of dual-use items, he said.

Earlier, Israeli Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz said in a meeting with Burns that all options are open in an effort to stop the Iranian nuclear program in the next two years. He called for international community to form a united front and keep up pressure against Iran.

The United States and other Western powers fear Iran's nuclear activities are aimed at building nuclear weapons. Israel believes Iran could have a nuclear bomb by 2010 and says an Iranian atomic weapon would threaten its existence.

Iraq denies seeking nuclear weapons and says it is enriching uranium only for use in generating electricity.

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