Iran NIE Deepens U.N. Security Council Rifts on Sanctions

Iran NIE Deepens U.N. Security Council Rifts on Sanctions

WASHINGTON -- The sudden release this week of a U.S. intelligence assessment that said Iran halted its nuclear weapons program some four years ago appears to have deepened the rift between U.N. Security Council members over whether the international community will continue pursuing stiffer economic sanctions against Iran.

The Security Council's permanent members have been generally split on the issue, with the United States, Britain and France trying to convince Russia and China of the need for ramped up sanctions. But in recent weeks, Russia and China, who maintain stronger economic ties with Iran than the other permanent members, had shown signs that they were leaning toward accepting new punitive measures toward Iran.

Reports of progress "toward sanctions" were circulating just days ago, after a meeting of foreign ministers on the subject in Paris on Dec. 1.

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