New Iran sanctions 'not a refusal to have talks': Kouchner
Slapping new UN sanctions on Iran to rein in its suspect nuclear program does not exclude the possibility of new talks with Tehran, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Wednesday.
"It is not a refusal to have talks," Kouchner said on the sidelines of an economic conference in Montreal. "It's an affirmation of the need for dialogue."
But "because we've talked with the Iranians for years and nothing was advancing ... it is important that a fourth UN resolution signal our impatience," he added.
His comments came after a US-drafted resolution was adopted by 12 votes in favor in the 15-member Security Council, with Lebanon abstaining and Brazil and Turkey voting against.
Though swiftly hailed by the United States, Britain and France who co-sponsored the resolution, the move drew an immediate, scornful reaction from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Despite the backing of Russia and China, it was one of the least supported of the four Iran sanctions resolutions adopted at the UN. It expands an arms embargo and bars the country from sensitive activities like uranium mining.
It authorizes states to conduct high-sea inspections of vessels believed to be ferrying banned items for Iran and adds 40 entities to a list of people and groups subject to travel restrictions and financial sanctions.
Tehran maintains its uranium enrichment program is for peaceful civilian purposes, while the Western nations have charged that Iran is covertly seeking to develop nuclear weapons.
© 2010 AFP