Fri, 10 Apr 2009 18:26:45 GMT | PressTV
Former US undersecretary of state Nicholas Burns urges Washington to dissuade Russia and China from backing Iran's nuclear program.
Burns, who was the Bush administration's point person on Iran, said all major powers, including Moscow and Beijing, should agree to impose tougher sanctions on Iran, if future negotiations fall.
“This a strong challenge to China and Russia: China is Iran's leading trade partner. Russia has been an important arms supporter. This is undercutting the unity of the UN sanctions,” Burns suggested.
The UN Security Council has imposed three rounds of sanctions on Iran due to Western allegations that Iran seeks weapons-grade nuclear fuel.
Iran has rejected the accusations, insisting that its nuclear activities are aimed at producing electricity to meet the country's growing demand.
Burns, who stepped down from his post at the State Department last year for “personal reasons”, urged European countries to follow Washington's example and 'sacrifice' their business ties with the Islamic Republic.
“The European nations need to make the same sacrifices we Americans have made by cutting our trade relationship with Iran. We need to have a unified approach,” he argued.
The six countries -- made up of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1), also known as the E3+3 -- have devised plans to resume negotiations with Iran over its nuclear activities.
Washington confirmed that it would participate in the P5+1 negotiations with Tehran.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday that Tehran is open for nuclear talks as long as they are based on “justice and respect”.