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Terrorism & Security

Iran nuclear program: US, EU step up sanctions pressure

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, speaking in Iraq, said additional sanctions could be imposed for Iran nuclear program if Iran does not fulfill October agreements.

By Jonathan AdamsCorrespondent / December 11, 2009

Defense Secretary Robert Gates poses for a photo with US soldiers at an airbase near Kirkuk, Iraq, on Friday.

Emad Matti/AP

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A top US official warned Friday of "significant" new sanctions on Iran, joining others in ratcheting up pressure on Tehran to fulfill an October agreement to curb its nuclear program.

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The European Union is preparing a draft of a statement supporting stronger global action to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions. That follows the UN's expression of "grave concern" Thursday for Iran's apparent violations of a UN ban on arms exports.

In a speech to soldiers Friday in Kirkuk, Iraq, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Iran would be sanctioned if it didn't honor its recent agreements, according to The New York Times.

“I think you’re going to see some significant additional sanctions imposed by the international community, assuming that the Iranians don’t change course and agree to do the things that they signed up to do at the beginning of October,” Mr. Gates said during a question-and-answer session with American troops in Kirkuk, an oil-rich region north of Baghdad.

The US, Britain, and France are pushing for tougher measures to halt Tehran's nuclear ambitions. Agence France-Presse said that the 27 European Union nations backed that approach, and had drafted a joint statement that will be released soon.

"Iran's persistent failure to meet its international obligations and Iran's apparent lack of interest in pursuing negotiations require a clear response, including through appropriate measures," the draft document said.
"Consistent with the dual-track approach, the European Union would support action by the UNSC (Security Council) if Iran continues not to cooperate with the international community over its nuclear program."
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