WASHINGTON – "There is a good chance that the UN Security Council will vote to tighten sanctions against Iran despite the US report," United Nations officials in New York told Ynet on Wednesday night.
The proposal for the third round of sanctions - aimed at pressuring Tehran to comply with international demands in its pursuit of nuclear power – will likely be drafted sometime next week and brought before the Security Council for further debate.
While Russia and China initially said the report should change the world's attitude towards the Iranian nuclear program, increased diplomatic efforts on the part of the US, Britain and France seem to have brought the Security Council back to its previous inclination towards supporting more sanctions.
Washington has gone to lengths to maintain support for the approval of the sanctions, with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley leading the damage control efforts. The two spoke with their counterparts in Russia, France, Britain and Germany and emphasized that the US still believes Iran to be a possible threat. The way to prevent military action in the future, they said, was to utilize diplomacy now.
Meanwhile US President George W. Bush adopted a business-as-usual approach on Wednesday and called on Tehran to ''come clean'' about the scope of its nuclear activities.
Bush in Nebraska: Iran must detail its previous nuclear program (Photo: AP)
The Iranians have a strategic choice to make,'' Bush said. ''They can come clean with the international community about the scope of their nuclear activities, and fully accept the long-standing offer to suspend their enrichment program and come to the table and negotiate, or they can continue on a path of isolation.''
French President Nicolas Sarkozy's office confirmed he had spoken with US President George W. Bush about the report. Sarkozy said if confirmed, the findings only reinforce international concerns and should not diminish pressure for new sanctions.
Britain too said it would press for tighter. Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Tehran was still defying international demands to end uranium enrichment. ''That defiance remains the case today,'' Miliband said.