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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Further deadlock looms over London meeting on Iran

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, May 24, IRNA
UK Meeting-Iran
Senior officials from France, Germany, UK, Russia, China and the US started their latest meeting on Iran behind closed doors Wednesday amid doubts that an agreement was within reach to break the deadlock over an extended EU offer of incentives.

Speaking ahead of the meeting in London, British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said they were trying to 'put together a balanced approach' in an attempt to reach a diplomatic solution over Iran's nuclear program.

But in answering questions in parliament on Tuesday, Beckett said that she 'cannot say much more about the nature of the offer or whether it is likely to come in the next few days'.

There had been 'a great deal of discussion about whether it is possible to offer a substantial package of incentives' for Iran, she also said.

Further doubts about an agreement being reached at the London talks were raised by the Financial Times Wednesday, which reported that differences in the US administration were hindering moves.

"Opposition by US 'hawks' led by Dick Cheney, the vice president, is complicating efforts by the main European powers to put together a package of incentives," the paper said, quoting diplomats and analysts in Washington.

"Condoleezza Rice, US secretary of state, was said by one diplomat to have 'gone out on a limb' in an attempt to back the EU3's package of incentives but was facing resistance from Cheney who is playing a more visible role in US foreign policy," it said.

The British Foreign Office on Tuesday warned that press reports were 'premature' about the extent of the package of incentives being offered to Iran.

"Various elements are still under consideration," a Foreign Office spokesman told IRNA.

The meeting, delayed from last week, comes after EU foreign ministers discussed extending last year's package of incentives, which was rejected by Iran, at their regular General Affairs Council in Brussels on May 15.

The discussions followed the failure to reach agreement in the Security Council in New York, when it was decided instead to draw up a new package to present Iran.

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