US mulls new Iran sanctions as Ahmadinejad endorsed as president
The US is considering harsh sanctions on Iran's oil industry if negotiations to curb Tehran's nuclear program fail.
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The reports came as hard-line Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was formally endorsed for a second term by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a ceremony Monday boycotted by leading opposition figures who dismissed the election result as a sham, reports Reuters.
The BBC said the US had already consulted on the sanctions plan with Israel and its European allies. The sanctions under consideration would bar shipments of refined petroleum products and byproducts to Iran, put restrictions on the purchase of Iranian gas and oil, and tighten rules on investments in Iran's oil industry.
The timetable is for an assessment to be made of Iran's intentions in the last week of September, when world leaders always gather in New York for the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly. There would also be discussions at a G20 summit in Pittsburgh the same week.
If Iran continued to resist freezing its enrichment activities and failed to agree to discuss its nuclear program, then sanctions would be imposed, or at least realistically threatened, by the end of this year.
Meanwhile, The Times of London reported Monday that Iran could build a nuclear bomb within a year, citing anonymous "Western intelligence sources." The sources told The Times that such a project could be initiated at any time, on an order from Ayatollah Khamenei.
"If the Supreme Leader takes the decision [to build a bomb], we assess they have to enrich low-enriched uranium to highly-enriched uranium at the Natanz plant, which could take six months, depending on how many centrifuges are operating. We don't know if the decision was made yet," said the intelligence sources.