Jack On Saturday, July 31, 2010

Washington — Senior U.S. officials are traveling in August to East Asia, the Middle East and South America seeking compliance with obligations in the U.N. Security Council sanctions on Iran and North Korea over nuclear weapons development programs.

Robert Einhorn, the State Department’s special adviser for nonproliferation and arms control, said during a recent congressional hearing that the goal now is to ensure that the most aggressive implementation of the sanctions is possible. “We’re not alone; the European Union has acted strongly to follow up by endorsing a series of significant steps, as have Australia and Canada,” Einhorn testified.

Einhorn and Daniel Glaser, deputy assistant Treasury secretary for terrorist financing and financial crimes, will travel to South Korea and Japan August 2–4 to hold talks with officials. They will travel later in August to China, and Stuart Levey of the Treasury Department will travel to the United Arab Emirates in coming weeks. Visits are also being scheduled for South America, they said.

Both testified July 29 before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on the impact sanctions are having on Iran. The sanctions have been imposed against Iran and North Korea to convince their regimes to abandon nuclear weapons development.

The United States embarked on a major diplomatic effort to engage with Iranian officials last year, a pledge President Obama had made during his campaign for president, Einhorn said. But those efforts have been rebuffed by Iranian officials and they have not demonstrated convincingly that their program is intended entirely for peaceful energy-generation purposes, he added.

“Iran’s intransigents left the international community no choice but to employ a second tool of diplomacy, namely pressure,” Einhorn said. “Our view is that sanctions are not an end in themselves. They’re a vehicle for changing Iran’s behavior.”

The Security Council sanctions adopted in June provided a first step in the campaign to force Iran to halt uranium enrichment and development. “It bans transfers of major conventional weapon systems to Iran. It bans all Iranian activities related to ballistic missiles that could deliver a nuclear weapon,” Einhorn said.

The sanctions also target directly the role of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is believed to be in control of Iran’s nuclear weapons and long-range missile development programs, Einhorn said. These U.N. Security Council multilateral actions are supplemented by a number of important actions taken by the United States and others to increase pressure on Iran to halt its programs, he added.

“Our efforts have yielded significant results: At least $50 [billion] to $60 billion in oil and gas development deals have either been put on hold or have been discontinued in the last few years, due in part of our conversations with companies about the threat of [U.S.] sanctions,” Einhorn said.

“Our aim has been to use these tools of pressure to sharpen the choice that the Iranian government faces and to press it to negotiate seriously with the international community,” he added.

Glaser said the objective over the next few months will be to broaden and deepen the existing sanctions framework. East Asia, the Middle East and South America are the three regions where most of the work toward enforcement of sanctions is needed, he told the committee. “Recent actions have demonstrated that the international community is increasingly united in its efforts to apply financial pressure on Iran,” Glaser said.


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