Europe backs new U.S. sanctions against Iran
Fresh measures are sought to stop Iran's uranium enrichment and reprocessing.
By Assocaited Press
Published December 7, 2007
BRUSSELS- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice won support from European allies Thursday for new U.N. sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.
NATO foreign ministers agreed to stay the course in seeking fresh measures at the United Nations to persuade Iran to stop uranium enrichment and reprocessing despite a new U.S. intelligence report that concluded the country halted its nuclear weapons ambitions in 2003.
At a working dinner in Brussels, the alliance's headquarters, the ministers accepted the Bush administration argument that Iran remains a threat and needs to be treated as such, Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht told reporters.
"On Iran, everybody around the table agreed we should not change our position," he said, after the dinner at which Rice presented Washington's position.
Leaders of France and Germany called for a two-pronged approach of pressure and negotiations with Iran.
"I think we are in a process and that Iran continues to pose a danger," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in Paris at a news conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in response to the new American findings.
Merkel, whose coalition government has been noncommittal about a U.S.-led push for new U.N. sanctions on Iran, did not specifically support fresh punitive measures, but she said, "We and our partners would like to continue with the U.N. process."
Sarkozy, who supports Washington's view, said he still backed new sanctions. "The threat exists," he said.
[Last modified December 7, 2007, 02:16:18]
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