Reuters: Senior officials from major powers will meet in London on Friday to establish the next steps against Iran over its refusal to give up uranium enrichment, the U.S. State Department said on Thursday. WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senior officials from major powers will meet in London on Friday to establish the next steps against Iran over its refusal to give up uranium enrichment, the U.S. State Department said on Thursday.
State Department spokesman Tom Casey said U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns would join political directors from France, Russia, China, Britain and Germany to discuss what action to take since Iran shunned an August 31 U.N. deadline to give up enrichment or face sanctions.
“What we expect the political directors will do is take account and take stock of the situation and review where this process is and what our next steps might be,” Casey said.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had been expected to meet her counterparts in London on Friday but that meeting has not been scheduled, indicating the timing was not right because differences still exist over sanctions.
But Casey said there were “scheduling issues” and it was not because of differences.
“I wouldn’t read anything more into it than that,” he said.
Rice was in Baghdad on Thursday.
Casey reiterated the U.S. view that talks between Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani and European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana were “drawing to an end” and the next step was agreeing on U.N. sanctions against Iran.
Iran again urged the West on Thursday to solve the standoff through talks but repeated it would not shelve its enrichment program. Iran says the program is only for power generation but the West suspects it wants to make a bomb.
While the United States is lobbying hard for sanctions, Russia and China have opposed this route and even some European allies say diplomacy must be given longer before sanctions are imposed.