Washington/London, Asharq Al-Awsat – US officials have stated that the Obama administration withdrew a series of tough measures from a draft sanction against Iran that was being discussed until recently.
One of the measures removed from the original draft resolution called on “banning Iranian aircrafts and ships transporting products from entering international airspace and waters.” Another provision targeting insurance companies dealing with Iranian corporations was also removed.
The Wall Street Journal quoted US officials as saying that the revised sanctions target major power centres in Iran, particularly the Revolutionary Guards Corps. However, the proposed amendments did not win the approval of some Western officials.
A prominent European official told Asharq Al-Awsat, “The amendments to the draft might cause it to be powerless and incapable of changing Iran’s behaviour.”
An informed US source told Asharq Al-Awsat that Washington is seeking to issue the resolution on sanctions at the beginning of June.
A spokesperson for the British Foreign Office told Asharq Al-Awsat that rumours about softening sanctions on Iran to secure the support of China and Russia is “nonsense” and “baseless.”
On his part, Matthew J. Burrows, Counsellor to the National Intelligence Council and Director of the Analysis and Production Staff, said that “intelligence still indicates that Iran is still keeping the option to obtain nuclear weapons open.”
Asked whether Iran has made a decision to develop a nuclear weapon, Burrows said, “I don’t think the decision has been made yet. This is something we can influence and the US and other states are working on that.”