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Ahmadinejad at Natanz nuclear plant
Photo: AP
Sources say UN on target for Iran sanctions by mid-June
European diplomat says major powers, including Brazil and China, agree on what measures will be imposed on Islamic Republic's banks, but still debating how far state shipping company, energy sector will be targeted

A new round of UN sanctions against Iran is set to be ready by mid-June, European diplomatic sources said on Friday, adding that a draft proposal could go before the Security Council within the next week.

 

"The timeframe we are working on is to put forward a proposal next week and to get a Security Council resolution by the second week of June," said one of the sources, who is closely following discussions among the parties.

 

"Brazil and China are now on board," he said.

 

The EU3+3 -- the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China -- have been in discussions for months on the draft contents for a fourth round of sanctions against Iran's nuclear enrichment program, which Tehran says is entirely for peaceful purposes.

 

Diplomats in New York and Washington said, however, that it was not likely that a draft would be ready to be presented to the Security Council as early as next week, although mid-June remains the target for securing a resolution.

 

The European sources said there was agreement among the major powers on what measures would be imposed on Iranian banks, but there was still debate about how far Iran's state shipping company and its energy sector would be targeted.

 

'They need to get the resolution through'

Efforts were now being made to convince as many as possible of the 10 non-permanent members in the 15-member Security Council to back the measures in the draft.

 

"The Turks have to be convinced a bit more," he said.

 

"It will be proposed next week and then they will start really vigorously getting them on side."

 

Another source said that Iran was aware that extra pressure was going to be applied soon and had intimated via Turkey, Oman and Brazil that it might be willing to hold new discussions on ways to resolve the stand off.

 

That source said that if Security Council backing for further sanctions was secured by mid-June, pressure would then be on Iran to "re-engage".

 

"They need to get the resolution through, then it has to come back to the EU and to other places to be implemented, and that takes a bit of time," he said. "They hope that the Iranians will re-engage at that point."

 

Brazil's foreign minister confirmed to Reuters on Friday that Brazil was working with Iran to find a solution to the stand off. He said Iran had to give a clear signal this month on its ability to accept the West's proposals.

 

Catherine Ashton, the EU's high representative for foreign affairs, has held talks with Turkey's foreign minister in recent weeks and has indicated that she would be willing to meet the Iranians, possibly in Turkey, "this side of the summer".

 

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