US comforts Israel with more pressure on Iran

US comforts Israel with more pressure on Iran
Sun Jul 14, 2013 16:15:57

US officials reportedly intend to intensify pressure on Iran over its civilian nuclear energy program in a move to calm down the Israeli regime.

“We will not ease the sanctions [against the Islamic Republic] if Iran does not take action to stop 20 percent enrichment,” senior US officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the Israeli daily Haaretz on Sunday.

The US officials added that Washington does not intend to ease the sanctions on Iran unless Tehran demonstrates a “change in attitude.”

Referring to the new sanctions against Iran that came into effect on July 1, the officials said Washington plans to ratchet up pressure on the Islamic Republic.

The newly-implemented sanctions against Iran, which target Iranian energy sector, maritime transportation, ship-building industry, oil trade and currency, were ratified by the US Congress in December 2012 and signed by President Barack Obama in January 2013.

According to the Israeli daily, the upcoming meeting of the P5+1 (Britain, China, France, Russia and the US plus Germany) to discuss the resumption of talks with Iran had fueled Tel Aviv’s concern that Washington may be seeking to ease its pressure on Tehran.

EU foreign policy Chief Catherine Ashton is scheduled to meet top officials from the P5+1 on Tuesday in Brussels to discuss “how to move forward in the Iran nuclear file,” said her spokesman Michael Mann on July 12.

Iran and the P5+1 have held several rounds of talks on a range of issues, with the main focus being on Tehran’s nuclear energy program.

The latest round of negotiations between the two sides was held in Istanbul, Turkey, on May 16. Two earlier meetings had also been held in the Kazakh city of Almaty on April 5-6 and February 26-27.

The US, Israel, and some of their allies have repeatedly alleged that Iran may intend to acquire nuclear weapons in the future. Washington has used the allegation to engineer and impose a series of sanctions against Tehran.

Tehran has consistently rejected the allegations, saying that its nuclear energy program is entirely peaceful and arguing that as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it is entitled to develop nuclear technology for civilian purposes.

In addition, the IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence showing that Tehran’s nuclear energy program has been diverted toward non-civilian objectives.



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