Reluctant Russia, China have agreed on Iran sanctions, Clinton says

The United States, Russia, China and other key nations have reached agreement on a "strong" Iran sanctions resolution, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday.

Speaking before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Clinton said the United States has been "working closely" with its international partners -- the so-called P5 plus 1 -- on a resolution to present to the United Nations Security Council.

She said they forged "a strong draft with the cooperation of Russia and China," the two countries that have been reluctant to impose strong sanctions on Iran for its nuclear program.

"We plan to circulate the draft resolution to the entire Security Council today," said Clinton, who made the remarks before she began testifying about START, the U.S.-Russian treaty on nuclear arms.

The P5 plus 1 comprises the five permanent member of the Security Council -- the United States, China, Russia, France, and Britain -- as well as Germany.

The group has been concerned that Iran intends to develop nuclear weapons. Iran has denied that claim, saying it wants to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes.

Clinton noted an Iranian offer to send low-enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for highly enriched uranium but said it would not stop U.S. efforts to impose sanctions.

"We acknowledge the sincere efforts of both Turkey and Brazil to find a solution regarding Iran's standoff with the international community over its nuclear program," Clinton told Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, citing the two countries that brokered the deal.

But, she said, the P5 plus 1 "are proceeding to rally the international community on behalf of a strong sanctions resolution that will, in our view, send an unmistakable message about what is expected from Iran."

(Published by CNN– May 18, 2010)

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