Iran makes little headway in diplomatic offensive
Business Week / Geroge Jahn

Iran's push to avoid new U.N. sanctions appeared to make little headway Sunday with Austria, with the Security Council member saying the onus was on Tehran to defuse international concerns about its nuclear agenda if it wanted to avoid fresh penalties.

Austria and other non-permanent members of the 15-nation U.N. Security Council are the targets of a diplomatic offensive by Tehran designed to stave off a U.S-supported push for a fourth set of Security Council sanctions for its nuclear defiance. The Vienna visit of Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki followed a trip by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Uganda, another non-permanent member.

In Kampala on Saturday, Ahmadinejad blasted the U.S. and Britain, which also supports sanctions, saying that while Washington and London "say they are concerned about the building of a nuclear bomb (by Iran) ... they are lying," and describing the Western push for new sanctions as illegal.

Mottaki, speaking to reporters in Vienna alongside Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger, sounded the same theme, saying "the talk of sanctions is unjust," and insisting his country had broken no international laws.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni had been noncommittal, telling reporters his country would decide on its position after consulting other African nations.

Spindelegger was blunter, saying only cooperation by Iran could derail the push for sanctions.

"We want a clear change o... >>>

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