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Bush, EU threaten Iran with new sanctions

KRANJ, Slovenia — President Bush and European Union leaders threatened Iran on Tuesday with new financial sanctions unless the country curbs its nuclear ambitions and opens facilities to international inspection.

After a two-hour meeting that touched on a host of issues, Bush and his European counterparts indicated they were prepared to go beyond United Nations sanctions to ensure Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon.

The Islamic republic insists its nuclear research and facilities are for peaceful purposes, but Tehran has stymied international inspectors from verifying the extent and nature of its program.

"Now is the time for there to be strong diplomacy," Bush said after the meeting, appearing with Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

"They can either face isolation, or they can have better relations with all of us," Bush said. "We'll find new sanctions if need be."

A statement from the United States and the 27-nation European Union said Iran must undertake a "full and verifiable" suspension of its uranium enrichment program and disclose any prior weapons-related work to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Although it is suspected that Iran halted work on nuclear weapons several years ago, the inability of the IAEA to inspect its operations has left doubts about Tehran's intentions as it continues to expand and improve its uranium enrichment. Enriched uranium can be used for nuclear energy and weapons.

Unless those obligations are met, the statement said that the United States and EU were prepared "to supplement" existing U.N. sanctions with "additional measures."

The language on Iran marks a modest accomplishment for Bush and other administration officials, who had indicated before Tuesday's summit that they did not expect to reach an accord on any other major issues.

Bush, EU threaten Iran with new sanctions 06/10/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 1, 2010 11:15am]
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