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US urges UN Security Council to take stronger stand on Iranian nukes

Turkey to increase trade with Tehran in defiance of West

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US urges UN Security Council to take stronger stand on Iranian nukes

The US delegation to the UN Security Council on Wednesday urged new measures against Iran in light of recently revealed violations of existing UN sanctions meant to persuade the Islamic Republic to abandon its renegade nuclear program.

The proposal came in response to an earlier report by the International Atomic Energy Agency showing that Iran has recently increased its stockpiles of enriched uranium in violation of UN Security Council resolutions and had interfered in the work of IAEA inspectors.

According to the latest IAEA report, Iran has already amassed 2.8 metric tons of low enriched uranium and 22 kilograms of uranium enriched to 20 percent purity, enough to produce a nuclear weapon, according to experts.

Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and French Defense Minister Herve Morin gave a joint press conference in Washington on Thursday in which they pledged to continue cooperation in confronting Iran in Afghanistan and on the nuclear issue.

"Our bilateral relationship is hugely powerful at the political and military level,” Morin said, adding that in the face of the Iranian threat “all of us are convinced of one thing: we have to show absolute determination… No one should show any kind of weakness.”

At almost the same time on Thursday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a meeting of the Turkish-Iranian business forum in Istanbul that he would work to expand Turkish business dealings with Iran. "I can't see any reason why we can't establish an unimpeded trade mechanism with Iran similar to the one with Europe," Erdogan said.

Turkey has insisted it will abide by UN sanctions against Iran but has consistently signaled that it will seek to expand trade ties, despite heavy American lobbying to take the opposite course. Trade volume between the two countries stood at over $10 billion in 2009.

"Today, we have no better friend than Turkey in today's world," Iran's Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi said at the meeting. "For Iran, for political security and economy, Turkey is a very important country."

Finally, US assistant secretary of defense for Asian affairs Wallace Gregson told a Congressional hearing on Thursday that North Korea has transferred missile and other weapons-related technology to Iran.

"North Korea has demonstrated frequently their intent to violate a number of international norms, sanctions and resolutions to transfer forbidden military technology to more than one other party," Gregson said.


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