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Key Nations Still Divided on Iran

March 21, 2006|From the Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS — Britain has suggested imposing U.N. sanctions on Iran unless it allays suspicions about its nuclear program, but Russia and China remained at odds with Europe and the U.S. on Monday night over the best way to confront Tehran.

Senior diplomats from six key nations convened for a 4 1/2 -hour meeting to discuss how to persuade Iran to stop enriching uranium, the radioactive material that can be used to make a nuclear weapon. But they could not overcome Russian and Chinese opposition to tough action in the U.N. Security Council.

The meeting, held by British Foreign Office political director John Sawers, occurred hours after a letter came to light detailing Britain's approach to Iran. The confidential document from Sawers suggested a blend of threats and enticements, starting with a Security Council statement and then moving to a legally binding resolution demanding that Tehran halt uranium enrichment.

The plan would introduce incentives as a way of getting Russia and China on board, and if Tehran failed to modify its stance, push "further measures" -- possibly including sanctions, according to the letter obtained by the Associated Press.

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