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France's FM:  Iran Nuke Progress Possible With Firmness, Dialogue


France's foreign minister says he believes progress on the Iranian nuclear crisis is still possible using a combination of firmness and dialogue.

Philippe Douste-Blazy told reporters in the United Arab Emirates Sunday that the United States, which has not ruled out a military option, acknowledges the policy of pressure and dialogue is bearing fruit.

Douste-Blazy said military action would destabilize the entire region and said he does not believe Iran wants to take further risks.

The French diplomat said Iran's only choices are to suspend all sensitive nuclear activities or face isolation.

Iranian state media on Sunday said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wants to brief the U.N. Security Council on what it called "Iran's peaceful civilian nuclear program."

France and the four other permanent U.N. Security Council members - the United States, Britain, China and Russia - have been considering new sanctions.

Douste-Blazy says to be effective any new sanctions vote must be unanimous. Germany has also participated in the talks.

Late last year, the U.N. Security Council imposed limited sanctions on Iran and issued a 60-day deadline for Tehran to stop producing enriched uranium, which can be used to make nuclear weapons. Iran ignored the resolution.

The United States and its Western allies suspect Iran is working to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

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

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