Clinton urges world powers to continue tightening sanctions against Iran over nuke program

Washington, Jan 10 (ANI): US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is on a tour of Gulf Arab countries, has said that despite evidences showing that Iran's nuclear weapons program has suffered a setback, the world powers should not stop their continuing efforts of tightening their economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Israeli officials, who have long warned that Iran could very soon attain nuclear bomb-building capability, have in recent days changed their position, saying that they believe that a bomb might be five years off, in part because of foreign attempts to sabotage the program.

However, Clinton has a different stand on the issue.

"The timeline is not so important as the international effort to try to ensure that, whatever the timeline, Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons. I don't know that it gives much comfort to somebody who is in the Gulf, or is in a country that Iran has vowed to destroy, that it's a one-year or three-year time frame," The Los Angeles Times quoted Clinton, as saying.

"This remains a serious concern and we expect all of our partners who share that concern ... to stay as focused as they can, and to do everything within reason that will help to implement these sanctions," she added.

Israel's sudden assessments have raised questions about whether the United States and allies would now ease up on their sanctions, or shift their strategy in some other way.

On Friday, a senior Obama administration official said that "we don't dispute" foreign intelligence agencies' assessments that the program has been delayed, but he declined to discuss the reasons behind the setbacks.

Clinton noted that six world powers are planning to meet with Iran on January 20 in Istanbul, Turkey, to again try to persuade Tehran to negotiate over the nuclear program. (ANI)

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