Top diplomats hammering out new Iran sanctions

Items compiled from ChicagoTribune news services
Published March 3, 2007

Top diplomats from the world's major powers will try to reach agreement Saturday on new sanctions against Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment. A U.S. official predicted the session would lead to a "substantive resolution."

Foreign ministry political directors from the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany held a two-hour conference call Thursday to discuss what to include in the resolution--and they were scheduled to hold another conference call Saturday morning.

The six countries say they want to move quickly to strengthen sanctions following last week's report by the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran was expanding enrichment instead of suspending it.

Iran's refusal to freeze all its enrichment-related activities prompted the Security Council on Dec. 23 to impose sanctions targeting its nuclear and missile programs. The council gave Tehran 60 days to halt enrichment or face additional non-military measures.

"This will be a substantive resolution. This will be something that will ... increase diplomatic pressure on Iran, on the Iranian regime," U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey said Friday.

If agreement is reached, the UN Security Council will start drafting a new resolution next week.

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