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Middle East Leaders Urge U.S. Patience On Iran

Cheney is currently on a visit to the Middle East (file photo) (epa) 17 January 2006 -- Officials from Egypt and Saudi Arabia have urged the United States to give negotiations more time over Iran's nuclear program.

Leaders of both countries conveyed that sentiment to visiting U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, who is on a tour of the region.

International pressure appears to be increasing on Iran over its nuclear ambitions.

The EU and U.S. say they support referring Iran to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions unless Iran agrees to renounce nuclear enrichment -- a key process in building an atomic weapon. The board of governors of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is meeting next month in an emergency session.

It's not clear whether Russia and China -- both members of Council -- would support sanctions, though Russia says its position is close to that of the EU and U.S.

Iran denies it is trying to build a nuclear weapon and has threatened to stop cooperating with the UN on nuclear matters if it is referred to the Security Council.

(compiled from agency reports)

RFE/RL Iran Report

RFE/RL Iran Report

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