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U.S. may add Iran sanctions

The United States will consider further steps to isolate Iran in the wake of revelations that it is close to manufacturing a nuclear weapon.

“We will continue to look at ourselves — what further steps might be taken in the financial sanctions area to try to prevent, cut off that pathway for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon, and work with other countries to do that as well,” Sean McCormack, the U.S. State Department spokesman, said Thursday.

The New York Times quoted nuclear experts as assessing that Iran had enriched almost enough uranium to make a bomb, based on the latest report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog.

McCormack said that in the coming days the United States would also press the IAEA and the U.N. Security Council to take further action based on the IAEA report.

The Bush administration has already targeted a number of banks, individuals and companies that deal with Iran’s nuclear efforts; it has yet to cut off Iran’s state-run Central Bank, which would help cripple Iran’s financial sector, as the bulk of international financial transactions run through U.S. financial institutions.

The latest IAEA report estimates that Iran has enriched 1,390 pounds of uranium.

Echoing McCormack was Sallai Meridor, Israel’s ambassador to Washington. “The urgency of the situation is growing with each passing day as Iran moves closer towards achieving military nuclear capabilities,” he said in a statement. “The world must dramatically step up sanctions against Iran before it is too late.”

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