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Senior US Official: Sanctions Talks on Iran to Begin Next Week


A senior U.S. official says work on a United Nations Security Council resolution covering Iran's nuclear program will begin next week.

Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns said Saturday in London he is confident the Council is headed towards a sanctions resolution, because of Tehran's refusal to suspend uranium enrichment. He said the only remaining question is how tough the sanctions will be.

Burns's remarks follow talks in London, where the five permanent members of the Council - the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China - plus Germany agreed to discuss possible non-military U.N. sanctions against Iran.

British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett, who chaired the talks, cautioned that the sanctions debate will require a great deal of work.

The United States and Britain are lobbying for sanctions against Tehran for its refusal to meet an August 31 Security Council deadline to stop enriching uranium. Russia and China, however, have repeatedly said the standoff should be resolved through negotiations.

Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. Western nations, however, believe the Islamic republic is seeking to produce nuclear weapons.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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