Hor Namhong Decries Iran Sanctions, Local Media Say

The government yesterday could not confirm Iranian media reports claiming that Foreign Minister Hor Namhong had announced in Tehran on Tuesday that Cambodia condemned international sanctions to prevent the Islamic Republic from developing nuclear weapons.

The US, the European Union and the UN Security Council have intensified economic sanctions against Iran for its refusal to cease the enrichment of nuclear fuel. Collectively, they fear that Iran is planning to build a nuclear weapon.

A report published by the semi-official Fars News Agency on Tuesday said that Mr Namhong told reporters at a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki that sanctions did not resolve international problems.

“The sanction-based policies are condemned everywhere and just a positive and constructive policy can solve the problems,” Mr Namhong was quoted as saying.

A separate report on the Iran Press TV website said that Mr Namhong had told reporters that “his country is opposed to any unilateral sanction against Iran and condemns such policies.”

Yesterday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said it was not possible to confirm or deny the Iranian reports as the ministry had not yet received details from Iran, where Mr Namhong yesterday wrapped up a two-day visit to sign agreements involving bilateral cooperation in the oil sector.

Mr Kuong said the government supported clean energy programs–not the development of weapons of mass destruction.

“The Cambodian government’s position is to support all energy programs that are for peace and development and not for developing lethal weapons,” he said.

A spokesman for the US Embassy in Phnom Penh said yesterday that Cambodia should support the UN Security Council resolution adopted in June.

The resolution curtails military purchases, trade and financial transactions by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the powerful Iranian agency which controls the republic’s nuclear program.

“Combined with the actions taken in the US Congress and by several of our international partners, it establishes a stringent multilateral sanctions regime that we believe will have a positive impact on the strategic calculus of Iran’s leadership,” the spokesman said.


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