The United States says it is confident the U.N. Security Council will approve a resolution imposing sanctions on Iran for refusing to stop enriching uranium and returning to negotiations over its nuclear program. A U.S. State Department spokesman says he does not believe Russian objections to a draft resolution will be a serious obstacle to efforts to secure the council's approval of the sanctions.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack acknowledges there are serious, ongoing negotiations over what he describes as tough issues involving a proposed Security Council resolution on Iran's nuclear program.
The five permanent members of the Security Council, plus Germany, agreed to discuss possible sanctions against Iran, after Teheran ignored an August 31 deadline to suspend uranium enrichment, an important step toward making nuclear weapons.
McCormack says the United States is convinced sanctions will be approved.
"At the end of the day we are going to get a resolution. We are confident we are going to get a resolution that does what the previous resolution said it would do. That is imposing sanctions on Iran for its failure to comply. This resolution will send a strong, clear message to Iran that it has to change its behavior," he said.
The draft resolution calls for banning the transfer of nuclear and missile technology to Iran as well as cutting off financing for equipment.
Russian officials have expressed concern about imposing sanctions on the Tehran government.
Russia is currently building Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant under a contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The United States has long objected to the facility, saying it could be used to produce material for nuclear weapons.
McCormack says U.S. officials do not believe disagreements over the nuclear plant will block the resolution on sanctions.
"This is an issue for the Russians, Bushehr. This work has been ongoing for some time. In the context of this discussion about the Security Council resolution we believe that this is not going to be an obstacle to getting a resolution," he said.
Earlier this year, major world powers offered Iran a package of economic and political incentives to end uranium enrichment and return to negotiations about its nuclear program.
Iran has been open to talks on the issue, but has refused to suspend enrichment, which it contends is its sovereign right.
McCormack says the international community will continue to put pressure on the Iranian government.
"We would hope the next step would be the Iranian regime would see clearly that there is a united international front. The diplomatic pressure is going to increase on them. It will be inexorable if they continue down this current pathway. We hope they will see their way clear to finding a way to accept the negotiation option," he said.
Iran says its uranium enrichment program is for peaceful purposes, to provide fuel for nuclear power. The United States alleges Iran is using the technology to create a nuclear weapons program.