Britain and France are leading a push for new EU sanctions to punish Iran over its nuclear program. But while European nations increasingly fear a war in their backyard, the continent is divided over how to deal with the crisis.
Many nations will follow the United States in slapping sanctions on Iran if it fails to suspend its nuclear enrichment program soon, Australia, a strong U.S. ally, said.
The White House on Friday rejected any parallels between its Iran rhetoric and the run up to the Iraq invasion, adding it had not ruled out the use of force but was "very hopeful" of avoiding war.
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani said on Friday Iranians need to realize "America will not allow them to become a nuclear power" and criticized Democrats for opposing President George W. Bush's tough stance on Iran.
CAIRO, Egypt— Iran is intensifying its efforts win over its Arab neighbors with a campaign of high-level diplomatic visits, lucrative investment deals and a series of public statements that call for Muslim unity in the face of U.S. and Israeli "aggression" in the Middle East.
Iran's leadership boasts it is safe from U.S. military action, saying Washington knows an attack would find no world support and send oil prices skyrocketing. That confidence is buoying the government in its standoff with the West, despite new sanctions.
Iran's new chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili on Friday brushed aside the latest US sanctions saying they would have no affect on the country's nuclear policies, the ISNA news agency reported.
World oil prices surged to historic highs Friday, breaching 92 dollars for the first time in New York amid rising tension in crude-rich Iran and tightening US energy supplies.
The US this week unleashed the power of the dollar on Iran, imposing unilateral financial sanctions on bits of the Islamic Republic's power structure and banking system.
In announcing new sanctions against an elite unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, Bush administration officials took pains to offer assurances on that, at least for now, the United States was not going to war.