Saturday, January 30, 2010
US issues China ultimatum on Iran sanctions
In unusually blatant remarks aimed at China, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday assailed the country for not joining the US-led front in imposing fresh sanctions against Iran over its nuclear work.
Clinton said she understood China's unwillingness to impose new penalties on Iran, one of the country's biggest oil suppliers, but warned against “longer-term implications” if Iran did not stop its nuclear program.
"We understand that right now it seems counterproductive to you to sanction a country from which you get so much of the natural resources your growing economy needs. But think about the longer-term implications."
The US accuses Iran of pursuing nuclear weaponry. Iran says its nuclear program is directed at the civilian applications of the technology.
Clinton said from now on, China will be under “a lot of pressure” to accompany the US campaign.
"As we move away from the engagement track, which has not produced the result that some had hoped for, and move forward on the pressure and sanctions track, China will be under a lot of pressure to recognize the destabilizing impact that a nuclear-armed Iran would have in the [Persian] Gulf, from which they receive a significant percentage of their oil supplies.”
The US has been lobbying China and Russia, two veto-wielding permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), to approve more sanctions against Iran.
Earlier this month, the five permanent members of the UNSC plus Germany (P5+1) met in New York but failed to agree on a new round of sanctions as Russia and China called for patience and restraint in dealing with Iran over its nuclear program.