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. Six powers agree to confirm existing UN sanctions on Iran - Lavrov
UNITED NATIONS, Sept 26 (AFP) Sep 26, 2008
Six major powers papered over differences over Iran and agreed Friday to submit a new Security Council draft resolution confirming existing UN sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear defiance.

"Our intention is to confirm all previous decisions," Sergei Lavrov told reporters after meeting with his counterparts from Britain, China, France, the United States and Germany here.

He was referring to the three previous rounds of Security Council sanctions slapped on Iran for its refusal to halt sensitive nuclear fuel work.

British Foreign Secretary David Milliband told reporters after the meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly: "We will be presenting a short resolution for consultations today that reaffirms existing resolutions and the unity of the E3+3."

The British top diplomat said the six powers' agreement on the draft also showed "our determination to take forward that strategy with further discussions and further steps."

A top German diplomat welcomed the six's agreement on the text as "an important sign of unity on Iran."

Foreign ministers of the five permanent members of the Security Council -- Russia, China, France, Britain and the United States-- plus Germany initially planned to meet here Thursday to weigh new sanctions against Tehran.

But that meeting was called off after Moscow complained Washington sought to "punish" it, apparently over Georgia.

Moscow also cited US refusal to hold meetings this week of the Group of Eight industrial countries, composed of the United States, Russia, Canada, Japan, Britain, France, Italy and Germany.

"We do not see any fire that requires us to toss everything aside and meet to discuss Iran's nuclear program in the middle of a packed week at the United Nations General Assembly," a Russian Foreign Ministry statement said Tuesday.

The war with Georgia, a US ally, led to the worst chill in relations between Moscow and Washington since the Cold War and prompted US officials to say Russia could face isolation.

But the United States and Russia later appeared to climb down from the dispute, agreeing here to hold further ministerial-level meetings in the future on Iran's nuclear program.

Friday, the foreign ministers of the six powers held an impromptu meeting at UN headquarters.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner confirmed after the meeting that a draft resolution on Iran would be submitted later in the day.

The West and Israel fear Iran intends to build a nuclear bomb but Tehran insists its nuclear energy program is entirely peaceful and aimed at generating electricity.

In his address to the UN General Assembly, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday vowed to pursue nuclear technology despite Western "bullying."

Iran "will resist the bullying and has defended and will continue to defend its rights," Ahmadinejad said.

In a clear reference to the United States and its allies, the Iranian leader said: "They oppose other nations' progress and tend to monopolize technologies and to use those monopolies in order to impose their will on other nations."

China and Russia have been reluctant to seek new sanctions against Iran despite its continued defiance.

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