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Rice Says World Powers Making Progress on New Iran Resolution


U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says world powers are making progress towards a new United Nations resolution to impose sanctions on Iran, but stresses they are still short of an agreement.

Rice spoke after arriving in Berlin Tuesday, for a meeting of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China) and Germany on Iran's nuclear program. She said participants still have some way to go.

She said that if they do not leave with a decision on new sanctions, they should be moving in that direction.

Ahead of the meeting, Iran said new sanctions would not stop it from pursuing a nuclear program.

A French diplomat who asked to remain anonymous said a third U.N. sanctions resolution could be ready by the end of this month.

The Security Council has already imposed two sets of sanctions on Iran for its failure to suspend uranium enrichment - a process that can be used to make nuclear weapons.

Russia and China - which have lucrative trade ties with Iran - have been reluctant to back tougher measures. In comments today in Beijing, China's Foreign Ministry called on both Iran and the international community to resolve the issue diplomatically.

The United States and its Western allies accuse Tehran of developing nuclear technology to produce nuclear weapons. Iran denies the charge.

A U.S. National Intelligence Estimate, released last month, says Iran used to have a nuclear weapons program, and it has the capability to restart that program.

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

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