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French Official Optimistic on UN Iran Resolution


France's foreign minister says he is optimistic that world powers are close to reaching agreement on wording for a U.N. Security Council resolution on Iran's nuclear program. From Paris, Lisa Bryant reports the minister's remarks come a day before high-ranking diplomats from six nations meet on the matter in the French capital.

Speaking in Brussels Monday, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany want as broad an agreement as possible on Iran at the Security Council. He said diplomats from those countries will be discussing the text in Paris Tuesday.

The permanent members of the Security Council, the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain, along with Germany, are worried that Tehran may be trying to build a nuclear weapon. Iran argues its nuclear program is for purely peaceful purposes.

After trying to coax Tehran to abandon its nuclear enrichment activities through diplomacy, the six powers have been discussing possible U.N. sanctions against Iran. Russia and China, have been reluctant to pursue that approach. But Douste-Blazy said Russia now agrees on the need to adopt sanctions against Iran.

Francois Heisbourg, who is head of the Foundation for Strategic Research in Paris, predicts some kind of agreement can be reached.

"The Russians and the Chinese have an overriding desire not to have a remake of Iraq 2003 [when the Security Council adopted sanctions]," said Francois Heisbourg. "That's item a. But item b is that China and Russia are not interested in having a nuclear Iran. And Moscow and Beijing are arbitraging [deciding] between those two different conflicting items. And that's why I say that at the end of the day there will be specific measures that will be decided upon by the security council as a whole."

Just what might be decided in Paris Tuesday remains unclear. Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, says that while Moscow is ready to agree to some sanctions, he believes others proposed by the United States are too tough.

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