Gates says Iran to face new sanctions

Fri Dec 11, 2009 5:49pm EST
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By Adam Entous

KIRKUK, Iraq (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Friday he expected the international community to impose significant additional sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.

A senior U.S. official said the United States and its allies would decide early next year whether to pursue more sanctions.

Gates also told U.S. troops in northern Iraq that military action against Iran would only delay its nuclear progress and instead urged a package of "incentives and disincentives" to convince leaders in Tehran to meet western demands.

He made his comments as European Union leaders meeting in Brussels expressed grave concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions and also warned of new sanctions.

"I think you're going to see some significant additional sanctions imposed by the international community, assuming that the Iranians don't change course and agree to do the things they signed up to do at the beginning of October," Gates said.

Gates was referring to a deal under which Iran would have transferred stocks of low-enriched uranium (LEU) abroad, receiving fuel in return to run a reactor producing medical isotopes.

He said Iran was "stiffing" the international community by refusing to implement what was agreed in October.

That "has brought the international community, including the Russians and the Chinese, together in a way that they have not been in terms of significant additional sanctions on the Iranians," he said.   Continued...

<p>U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (C) walks with U.S. Army Lt. General David Rodriguez (R) and Ambassador Francis J. Ricciardone, Jr after landing at Kabul International Airport December 8, 2009. REUTERS/Justin Sullivan/Pool</p>