Monday Ehud Barak , Israel's defense minister , urged the world to agree to strict new sanctions on Iran . He suggest ed that military strikes remained a final option should Tehran refuse to heed U.N. Security Council demands to curb its nuclear activities.
Barak indicated Israel was prepared to wait for an unspecified period of time to give more space to world power diplomacy in trying to end Iran's nuclear defiance.
"We still believe that its time for diplomacy, tough diplomacy," Barak told reporters during an official visit on the invitation of Norbert Darabos, his Austrian counterpart. "There is a need for tough sanctions ... something that is well and coherently coordinated to include the Americans, the EU, the Chinese, the Russians, the Indians."
At the same time, he said, "we recommend to all players not to remove any options from the table," just as "we do not remove it , " The Associated Press reports.
Meanwhile, senior officials say that a meeting by five world powers on Iran's nuclear program has been canceled on China's request.
The U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany had planned to meet Friday. Officials from three of the five powers demanded anonymity Monday because their information was confidential.
One of the officials said China cited scheduling problems in asking for the cancelations. He and another official said the five now planned to talk via conference call.
The meeting was to be in Brussels or on the sidelines of the Copenhagen summit.
Iran has shrugged off three sets of U.N. Security Council sanctions imposed to curb its uranium enrichment program. Tehran says it needs to enrich to make fuel for a future reactor network. But the program can also be used to make fissile warhead material, The Associated Press reports.
It was also reported, the IAEA draft agreement responds to Iran’s request for fuel for the Tehran research reactor and offers Tehran an opportunity to begin to build confidence in the peaceful nature of its nuclear program, the official said.
“We urge Iran not to squander this opportunity,” the unnamed official added.
The Obama administration has warned Iran of new sanctions if it did not respond positively to the offer by the end of the year.
US State Department spokesperson, P.J. Crowley, said yesterday that Mottaki’s comments didn’t alter the plan to impose tougher sanctions against Iran.
“Nothing’s changed in our calculation,” he said, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The IAEA had previously ruled out a nuclear fuel swap taking place inside Iran.
"I don't think that is an option. The whole purpose of the deal is to defuse the crisis," former IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said last month, before stepping down from his post after 12 years, WashingtonTV reports.
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