European Union foreign ministers on Monday threatened to tighten sanctions against Iran over its controversial nuclear program but said they would wait until their next meeting in December before taking further action.
The ministers, meeting in Brussels, also ruled out any military action “at the moment,” despite last week’s United Nations report alleging that Iran has been working to acquire equipment and weapons design information. The report said Tehran has been testing high explosives and detonators while also developing computer models of a warhead’s core.
Iran rejected the report and insists its nuclear program is peaceful.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said that although the ministers are not yet considering military intervention, “all options should remain on the table.” Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal agreed and said “I do not exclude anything.”
However, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle completely ruled out talks on military action, saying it would be counterproductive.
On Sunday, U.S. President Barack Obama said sanctions on Iran are having “enormous bite and scope.” He said he would consult with China and Russia on more steps to pressure Tehran to stop its alleged efforts to make a nuclear weapon under cover of its civilian nuclear program.
Mr. Obama met with his Chinese and Russian counterparts during the APEC summit in Hawaii. He said Beijing and Moscow agree that Iran cannot be allowed to develop nuclear weapons and trigger a nuclear arms race in the region.
The U.N. Security Council has imposed four sets of sanctions on Iran because of its refusal to halt nuclear activities that could have military as well as civilian purposes.
However, neither China nor Russia has indicated they would support additional U.N. sanctions in the nuclear dispute.