Bush, Brown threaten further sanctions against Iran

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown have promised new sanctions on Iran if the Gulf country continues to enrich weapons-grade uranium.

At a joint press conference in London today, Brown announced that "today we will urge Europe - and Europe will agree - to take further sanctions against Iran." Britain is pressuring the European Union to freeze the overseas assets of Iran's Bank Melli, which the United States accuses of supporting Iran's missile programs. European Union spokesperson Cristina Gallach says that Europe is prepared to take action.

Iran denies its enrichment program is aimed at the creation of nuclear weapons, insisting that they will use the technology to generate electricity. In response, Brown announced that during weekend negotiations, "we put our enhanced offer on the table - including political and economic partnership and help with nuclear technology for civilian use. We await the Iranian response and will do everything possible to maintain the dialogue."

In response to the announcement, Iran has withdrawn approximately $75 billion of its European foreign assets. "Part of Iran's assets in European banks have been converted to gold and shares" said Iranian deputy foreign minister Mohsen Talaie, "and another part has been transferred to Asian banks." The Iranian government gauges its foreign exchange reserves at $80 billion.