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Iran envoy warns Japan against imposing sanctions

Iran envoy warns Japan against imposing sanctionsReuters – Iran’s ambassador to Japan urged Tokyo on Wednesday not to join in imposing sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear program, saying any such action would hurt Japan, Kyodo news agency reported.

Mohsen Talaei also expressed hope that Japan, as chair of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Board of Governors, would help bring the Iranian nuclear issue back to IAEA from the U.N. Security Council, Kyodo said.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday ruled out any idea of halting nuclear fuel work in return for EU incentives, saying the Europeans were offering "candy for gold".

Asked how Iran would react if Japan joined the United States in sanctions, Talaei told a news conference in Tokyo that he believed the move would be "an action against Japan", Kyodo said.

The United States and its EU allies want Iran to end nuclear fuel activities as a guarantee that it is not trying to make atomic weapons. Tehran says the fuel is only for power stations.

Britain, France and Germany, the European Union’s three biggest powers, plan to offer Iran a light-water reactor as part of a package to induce Tehran to freeze a uranium enrichment program that the West suspects has military dimensions.

The permanent five members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany have delayed a meeting on Iran scheduled for this week to allow more time to prepare the EU proposal, a British Foreign Office spokesman said.

Japan, which imports about 15 percent of its crude oil from Iran, has kept up good ties with the Islamic Republic, and Japanese officials have said in the past that this gives Tokyo a unique role to play in diffusing tensions.

But Iran’s nuclear standoff with the West has created a dilemma for Japan, which wants to stay in diplomatic synch with the United States, while also pursuing the development of an Iranian oil field seen by Tokyo as vital to its energy strategy.
Despite U.S. objections, Tokyo went ahead two years ago with a deal on a billion-dollar project to develop the Azadegan oil field in Iran, estimated to hold the world’s second-biggest single oil reserves.
Talaei said the Azadegan project was "the most important part of (the) energy security of Japan for the future" and that Japanese sanctions would hurt Tokyo more than Tehran, Kyodo said.
The permanent five members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany have delayed a meeting on Iran scheduled for this week to allow more time to prepare the EU proposal, a British Foreign Office spokesman said.