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Major Powers End Iran Talks With No Breakthrough

The positions of Security Council permanent members Russia and China are said to be very close.
MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russia's Foreign Ministry has said that country is against the United Nations taking any extra measures on Iran over its nuclear program for now and thinks efforts toward dialogue should continue.

The comments came after talks on September 19 between major powers over a fourth round of UN sanctions against Iran ended with no firm commitment.

Western countries fear Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, which Tehran denies.

"On the Russian side, we underlined the necessity of continuing efforts to include Tehran in a constructive dialogue aimed at launching a process of talks," the Russian Foreign Ministry said. "In this context we spoke against the development of extra measures by the UN Security Council at this stage."

The United States, Britain, France, and Germany are pushing for harsher measures over Tehran's defiance of UN demands for full disclosure and a halt to uranium enrichment, which can have both civilian and military purposes. Russia and China however have been resisting such moves.

The Security Council has already approved three rounds of sanctions targeting Iran's nuclear and defense programs.

This week's meeting was aimed at seeking consensus among the Security Council five, plus Germany, ahead of top-level meetings during this month's opening of the UN General Assembly.

State Department spokesman Robert Wood said the meeting concluded without agreement on either the timing or content of a new UN resolution on Iran. But he said all six participants expressed a commitment to the so-called two-track approach -- using both carrots and sticks to get Iran to give up its sensitive nuclear work.

"They remain committed to exploring possible further measures on the second track," Wood said, referring to sanctions under consideration by the six.

He said the six countries again urged Iran to accept an offer of trade and other incentives presented in June in exchange for giving up uranium enrichment. Tehran has not accepted the offer and has said it will not give up sensitive nuclear work.

Iran says its nuclear program is intended solely to generate more power for the Islamic republic and has repeatedly defended its right to harness nuclear power.

A European diplomat said after the talks that all sides agreed on the principle of more sanctions but there was no consensus on the substance and timing of those measures.

"The Russians are obviously not fully ready to move forward right now, and the Chinese are not far from Russian thinking," said the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity.