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Sanctions possible if Iran stays defiant-UK's Straw

Written by: Staff

BERLIN, Mar 30 (Reuters) British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw today said sanctions could follow if Iran remained defiant and refused to halt its uranium enrichment programme as demanded by the U.N.

Security Council.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting of the five permanent council members and Germany, Straw said yesterday's non-legally binding presidential statement had given Iran 30 days to freeze its uranium enrichment programme.

Asked if the council might pass a legally binding resolution if Iran did not comply, Straw said this was a possibility.

''It can certainly include a resolution before the Security Council and the possibility of measures after that. We've not disguised that,'' he said.

Asked if such possible measures could include sanctions, Straw said: ''It could do, is the answer.'' If the Islamic republic changed its stance and froze its enrichment programme, which could be used to make fuel for nuclear power plants or weapons, it would reap many benefits.

''If they bring themselves into compliance then all sorts of good things, not bad things, will follow,'' Straw said.

''What we hope ... is that the Iranians will understand that the patience of the international community is running out. They've got 30 days to bring themselves back into compliance. It's in their interests very much to do so,'' he said.

Reuters PR DB2051

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