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. Six powers discuss new UN resolution on Iran
PARIS, March 1 (AFP) Mar 01, 2007
The United States, four European powers and China held telephone talks Thursday on toughening sanctions on Iran over its refusal to halt its nuclear programme, the French foreign ministry said.

The talks between the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany were to build on a meeting held Monday in London at the level of foreign ministry directors.

Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States discussed the draft of a second resolution to be presented to the UN Security Council on tougher sanctions against Tehran.

"The telephone conference call took place as scheduled at the level of political directors and the discussions on the contents of the new resolution are ongoing," said foreign ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei.

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy earlier this week sounded optimistic, saying prospects for a quick agreement on new sanctions resolution were good.

Washington is also awaiting the outcome of the six-way contacts after a report from the UN nuclear watchdog agency, the IAEA, last week said that Iran had not halted, but in fact was expanding, its uranium enrichment programme.

"We hope at that point that they can actually come to agreement on the elements of the resolution," said US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack on Monday.

The United States and some other western powers believe Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons capability.

Iran however has denied seeking nuclear weapons, and asserts it has a right to a peaceful nuclear programme.

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