Jerusalem, Oct. 24 – Amid growing concerns over the nature of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear program, European Union (EU) leaders warned about a new round of sanctions against the Iranian regime if it does not return to international talks. The EU also cautioned Syria that it would impose further, more comprehensive, sanctions if the regime continues repressing its citizens.
These latest developments follow the revelation of an Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States and blow up the Saudi Arabia and Israel embassies in Washington.
The ‘5+1’ Group, comprising the United States, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom and Germany, sent a letter to Iran on Friday (Oct. 21) stating their willingness to negotiate with Iran so long as the talks are “constructive and substantial,” Reuters reported. Iran has skirted inspections into its nuclear and missile programs from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). EU and U.S. leaders are not convinced Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and the Iranian regime has been accused of not complying with inspections because of the non-peaceful nature of its nuclear program.
Washington and the EU have already pushed four rounds of sanctions at the United Nations. They have also tried to deter investment into Iran’s lucrative oil sector.
Despite these moves, Iran and Iraq are set to ink a major gas deal within the month. Tehran Times reported: “Some 170 kilometers [105 miles] of the pipeline, which will transfer gas from Iran to Iraq, will be built in Iran and it will extend 190 kilometers [118 miles] into Iraq, the NIGC [National Iranian Gas Company] head [Javad Oji] stated.”
Oji added that the deal will supply four power plants in Iraq with natural gas. And, negotiations for finalizing the construction of the planned Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline, known as the ‘Islamic Pipeline’ will continue.
The gas deal comes amid news that the U.S. is withdrawing all its troops from Iraq by year end.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday (Oct.21) that Iran should not “miscalculate” the U.S. decision to withdraw its troops from Iraq. Speaking on the weekly political show, Meet the Press, Clinton said Washington has a “continuing commitment to and with the Iraqis going forward.” She was hinting at growing speculation that Iran, a predominantly Shi’ite Muslim country, will seek to destabilize the newly democratic country via its deep connection to Iraq’s Shi’ite population.