Japan plans to call for the U.N. Security Council to discuss imposing sanctions on Iran if Tehran does not promptly respond to the incentives package presented by six countries for resolving the nation’s nuclear standoff, according to Japanese government sources.
Tokyo will make the proposal at the July 15-17 Group of Eight summit of major powers in St. Petersburg, Russia, the sources said, adding that if the Security Council reopens talks on the issue, adoption of a resolution paving the way for economic sanctions and other measures against Iran would draw renewed attention.
However, it remains uncertain if the G8 leaders will be able to reach a consensus on the need for Security Council talks because Russia, the host of this year’s G8 summit, is reticent about adopting such a resolution, the sources said.
In Tehran, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman warned at a news briefing Sunday that Japan and other countries would be adversely affected if they join the international community in slapping sanctions on Iran.
Iran is the world’s fourth-largest oil producer. It supplied 13.8 percent of Japan’s total crude oil imports last year, according to the Natural Resources and Energy Agency in Tokyo.
Sanctions on Iran would also threaten Japan’s stake in a development project in the Azadegan oil field in southwestern Iran.
On March 29, the Security Council issued a presidential statement calling on Iran to suspend uranium enrichment activities.
Iran, however, has continued uranium production, prompting the United States to make a case for the Security Council adopting a resolution under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter. The chapter contains provisions on economic sanctions by U.N. member states.
But the U.S. call has met resistance from Russia and China. These three countries, along with two other permanent Security Council members — Britain and France — and Germany have since worked out the incentives package for Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment activities.
The package was presented to Iran on June 6, but Tehran has yet to respond to it.
The G8 ministers said they “expect to hear a clear and substantive Iranian response” Wednesday, when Tehran’s negotiator, Ali Larijani, meets Javier Solana, the European Union’s foreign policy chief.
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