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Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:34AM
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visiting a nuclear plant in Iran (File photo)

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visiting a nuclear plant in Iran (File photo)

A group of US national security professionals have issued a report, suggesting that the US sanctions on Iran should ease as they do not offer a way forward. The report, titled “Weighing Benefits and Costs of International Sanctions Against Iran”, was published by more than three dozen former US foreign-policy makers, military officers, and independent experts. “It is not clear that these sanctions alone will result in agreements or changes in Iranian policies,” the report said. It added that Iran is unlikely to curb its nuclear program if Washington and its Western allies do not ease economic sanctions. The 38 signatories include three Republican former cabinet secretaries, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, and some retired Army and Marine Corps generals. The report said the sanctions have decreased the quality of life for average Iranians, creating new international patterns of trade, which has resulted in increased market share for Chinese and Indian goods in Iran. “So far, neither the United States nor the UN Security Council has stipulated the precise criteria that Iran must meet to trigger the lifting of sanctions, or the sanctions that would be lifted in exchange for Iran’s actions,” the 86-page report said. On November 30, the US Senate approved a new round of sanctions against Iran's energy, port, shipping, and shipbuilding sectors. On December 1, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said her country is ready to hold bilateral talks with Iran over Tehran’s nuclear energy program. "We are working on the P5+1 (Britain, China, France, Russia, and the US plus Germany) and making our willingness known that we are ready to have a bilateral discussion if they are...ready to engage," she stated. The illegal US-engineered sanctions against Iran were imposed based on the unfounded accusation that the Islamic Republic is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program. Iran rejects the allegations, arguing that as a committed signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. In addition, the IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence showing that Iran's civilian nuclear program has been diverted to nuclear weapons production. NT/AS
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