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December 3, 2007
Breakthrough: China Agrees to Iran Sanctions
In a victory for American diplomacy, China has agreed to another round of sanctions to be placed on the Iranian regime for their failure to halt uranium enrichment:
A senior US official said Monday that international talks on a third United Nations sanctions resolution on Iran over its nuclear program have taken "a step forward" with China's cooperation. This is a big victory for our current Iran strategy. But it all may go for naught unless Russia can be convinced to jeapordize its growing economic ties with Tehran and come on board for another go around of sanctions:
"I was particularly pleased of the fact that we made progress in our deliberations with the Chinese government," said US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, the chief American participant in Saturday's closed door, high-level talks in Paris.
The clamor for new sanctions - led by the United States, Britain and France - mounted after Friday's collapse of an 18-month EU effort to persuade Iran to stop uranium enrichment. China, a veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council, together with Russia, had been reluctant to support a third set of sanctions.
"We were able, with the Chinese government, to focus on a number of areas where we would agree to sanctions ... It was a step forward for us," Burns told reporters in Singapore where he met with officials to discuss bilateral and regional issues.
A French diplomat had said following the talks that a compromise text on a new resolution would be circulated among the six countries involved in negotiations - the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany - next week. Reading between the lines, the diplomat believes that Russia is going to be a hard sell. Putin has said several times that the current level of sanctions need more time to work. But with China now on board, it may be enough to goose Putin and the Russians into supporting whatever sanctions the Big Six can come up with.
The diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the talks, said he was "relatively optimistic" about having a resolution in the coming weeks.