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EU Says Nuclear Talks With Iran at Dead End


Europe's major powers say it is time for the U.N. Security Council to address the crisis over Iran's nuclear program. The consensus emerged from a meeting of the British, French, and German foreign ministers in Berlin.

The European officials came out of their meeting in agreement that two years of diplomatic negotiations over Iran's nuclear program have hit a dead end.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says Iran has lost what he calls "an important opportunity" by deciding to resume activities at its uranium enrichment facility.

Steinmeier says the matter will now pass on to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the last step before referral to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions.

"Today we have decided to inform the executive board of the IAEA of the fact that our relations with Iran have reached an impasse," he said. "We are still very willing to address this problem by diplomatic means in the multilateral framework and using peaceful means for its solution."

The British foreign secretary, Jack Straw, says he deeply regrets Iran's move.

"We have no alternative, but for the decision which we have reached to call for an emergency meeting of the board of governors of the [International] Atomic Energy Agency and as we have made clear, with a view to the involvement then of the Security Council," added Straw.

Iran says it wants nuclear power only for peaceful, civilian purposes, but the United States and the major European powers suspect Tehran wants to build nuclear weapons.

Besides the upcoming IAEA meeting, there are plans for officials from the United States, the European Union, Russia and China to consult in London on the Iran crisis next week.