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EU Warns Against Quickly Imposing Sanctions on Iran

European leaders have expressed regret about Iran's refusal to suspend uranium enrichment work, but they say it is too early to decide on possible sanctions.

France's Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin Friday called for more dialogue after Iran rejected a U.N. Security Council deadline Thursday to suspend enrichment activities. He added that Iran should respect its international commitments.

A European Union diplomat, Javier Solana, is to meet Iran's nuclear chief, Ali Larijani, next week. And diplomats from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany will discuss the issue in the coming days.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said again today that his country will never give up its nuclear program.

Russian officials expressed regret at Iran's decision to defy the Security Council deadline, but said they continue to oppose international sanctions on Iran.

On Thursday, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran was continuing enrichment work. It said it cannot confirm Iran's stated position of pursuing nuclear technology only for peaceful purposes.

President Bush said there must be consequences for what he called Iran's defiance. He stressed that Iran cannot be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon.

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

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