TEHRAN: Iran on Sunday warned it would take appropriate measures in retaliation for any punitive UN sanctions on its nuclear program. Imposing sanctions has repercussions on both sides, regionally and internationally. They already know this. If they impose sanctions we will take appropriate measures, foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said.
Asked if such regional repercussions would have an effect on the Strait of Hormuz, a vitally important channel for transporting oil out of the Gulf, Hosseini replied: It depends on the kind of sanctions.
He did not specify further and refused to say what measures Iran could take if sanctions were imposed, such as blocking inspections of its nuclear sites by the UN atomic watchdog.
When they approve it, we will make an announcement, Hosseini said.
The foreign ministry spokesman admitted Iran appeared to be heading for sanctions over its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, a process the West fears could be diverted to making nuclear weapons.
The path they are taking is the Security Council, passing resolutions and imposing sanctions, he told reporters. The stance they are taking is towards sanctions. Hosseini insisted that Iran still wanted to negotiate.
There is another path, the path of negotiation and understanding. This is the path that we have chosen.
But he reaffirmed Iran s unequivocal rejection of Western calls for the Islamic republic to halt uranium enrichment before full negotiations take place.
The suspension of uranium enrichment does not have any place in our policy, he said. If the conditions of the negotiations were fair this issue could be discussed.
Iran insists that its nuclear programme is solely aimed at generating energy and vehemently rejects US charges that it is seeking atomic weapons.
Germany and permanent UN Security Council members Britain and France have been finalising a draft sanctions resolution to put to the world body, although diplomats have warned it may take more time to find agreement.
Russia and China – which both have strong economic ties with Iran and are traditionally reluctant to use sanctions as a diplomatic tool – are likely to oppose a severe regime of sanctions. A first set of punitive measures would focus on banning the supply of material and funding for Iran s ballistic missile and nuclear programmes.
Other steps could include asset freezes and travel bans on nuclear scientists.