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UN Security Council Mulls Possible Iran Sanctions

UNITED NATIONS, March 7, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Major powers on the United Nations Security Council have been holding talks on possible additional sanctions on Iran, but no agreement has been reported yet.

A new resolution is being discussed following Iran's refusal to comply with a 60-day Security Council deadline to halt uranium-enrichment activities. A trade ban on sensitive weapons-related materials and other sanctions were imposed on Iran in a resolution adopted by the Security Council in December.

Diplomats from permanent Security Council members Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States, along with Germany, held talks on March 6 in a bid to reach agreement on the elements of a resolution that could impose new sanctions.

French UN representative Jean-Marc de la Sabliere said the council is seeking agreement on a set of "incremental" measures against Tehran.

"We have identified some elements which could be new measures which could be consistent with this incremental approach," Sabliere said. "We have decided to continue our work today with a meeting at the level of the ambassadors and also experts among the six. We will see by the end of the day where we are. We may have to send it back to capitals, we may continue here if we [have] progress. Our objective is to go swiftly, but as you know these issues are technical, are difficult."

British UN Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry took a similar line in comments to journalists in New York on March 6.

"We continue our efforts talking about the fundamental approach, talking about the elements that we would put in a resolution, that this resolution would be an incremental racheting up of the measures," he said. "That's the approach which is agreed. At the same time we understand that the diplomatic path is open, but that's very much down to the government in Tehran, whether it's prepared to take those decisions."

Iran says it has a right to peaceful uranium-enrichment work under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has repeatedly denied allegations that it is trying to produce nuclear weapons.

Copyright (c) 2007. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

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