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Top Diplomats End Meeting on Iran with No Deal


Senior diplomats from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany have failed to reach an agreement on a long-term strategy regarding Iran's nuclear program.

The meeting in New York Monday, involving the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany comes as the 15-nation Security Council is considering ways to address Tehran's controversial nuclear ambitions.

Following the high-level meeting, U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said the council would not, as expected, issue a statement Tuesday. Officials say the draft text called on Iran to suspend uranium enrichment and comply with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) standards.

The United States, Britain and France want IAEA Director Mohamed ElBaradei to report on Iran's nuclear program to the council within 14 days.

Russia and China, however, are urging a slower pace amid concerns that tough action could prompt Tehran to withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

In Tehran, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed the Islamic republic would continue to resist international pressure to halt its nuclear program. In a televised speech marking the Iranian new year, Nowruz, he said the country had attained the technology without help and that no one could take it away.

Meanwhile, diplomats in Vienna Monday said Iran was on the verge of operating a mechanical device (centrifuge) that can advance the process of enriching uranium.

The United States and European Union want Iran to abandon uranium enrichment.

Washington suspects Iran is seeking to build a nuclear weapon. Tehran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

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