Iran Nuclear NewsBig powers to meet in Berlin on Iran

Big powers to meet in Berlin on Iran

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Reuters: Foreign ministers from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany will meet next week in Berlin to discuss possible further sanctions against Iran, diplomats said on Tuesday.
By Sue Pleming

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Foreign ministers from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany will meet next week in Berlin to discuss possible further sanctions against Iran, diplomats said on Tuesday.

Two diplomats speaking on condition of anonymity said the ministers would try to close differences over a third U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution against Iran for its refusal to give up sensitive nuclear work.

The German foreign ministry in Berlin had no comment on the meeting, which would bring together Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, as well as the host country.

The U.S. State Department indicated that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would attend such a meeting but declined to confirm officially that it was taking place until there had been an announcement from Germany.

“We have been working on a ministerial level P5+1 meeting. I hope that we can have an announcement for you on that in the not-too-distant future,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters.

“Let me check to see if the Germans have made any official announcement. Let me extend a courtesy to them as a possible host of a meeting,” he said.

McCormack said the idea of such a meeting would be to talk about elements of a third U.N. Security Council resolution against Iran over its refusal to give up sensitive nuclear work which the West says is aimed at building a nuclear bomb but Iran says is for peaceful civilian power use.

“It is also to have a strategy session about the way forward, how to move forward after the passage of another Security Council resolution. I expect those would be elements of any conversation the ministers would have if they got together,” he added.

Asked whether differences had been narrowed down to agree on a new resolution, he said: “Nothing is done until everything is done. We will see. We have had some good conversations and there is still work to be done.”

China and Russia have been balking at further sanctions resolutions against Iran, particularly after a U.S. intelligence estimate last month said Tehran had given up its nuclear weapons program in 2003.

(Additional reporting by Madeline Chambers in Berlin; editing by David Storey)

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