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The United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany met in Washington to help prepare for a meeting next week of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her counterparts from the other five countries, it said.
The six "reaffirmed their collective commitment to the dual-track strategy" of offering incentives to Iran if it cooperates or punishment if it does not, according to the Department statement.
Three sets of UN sanctions have now been slapped on Iran, for defying Security Council resolutions to stop uranium enrichment, which can be a key step towards making nuclear weapons.
A previous resolution adopted in March gave the Islamic Republic 60 days to comply with the UN injunctions.
Iran's hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said his country should "thank Allah" for any further sanctions the United Nations Security Council may approve against it.
"The more sanctions imposed on us the more we should thank Allah. The sanctions show the weakness of those who approve them," Ahmadinejad told journalists in Tehran.
Russian Foreign Ministry has said that Moscow opposes adopting new measures against Iran by the UN Security Council.
"Russia is against the United Nations taking any extra measures on Iran over its nuclear program for now, and thinks efforts towards dialogue should continue," Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.
Russia, China and Germany refuse to countenance tougher sanctions against Iran notwithstanding the International Atomic Energy Agency’s report from Vienna that its inspections of suspect activities and covert projects were stalled by Tehran’s non-cooperation. Diplomats for the five permanent Security Council members and Germany, meeting at the State Department Friday, Sept 19, therefore failed to agree on a new round of sanctions ahead of their foreign ministers’ meeting at UN Center next week.
The meeting avoided discussing the timing and content of a fourth round of sanctions, only broadly calling on Iran - for the umpteenth time after numerous rejections - to accept the incentives on offer for halting uranium enrichment and cooperating with UN inspections.
The nuclear watchdog reported that Tehran had stalled its efforts to establish whether or not Iran was developing nuclear warheads, enriching uranium for military purposes, testing nuclear explosives or building nuclear-capable missiles.
Tuesday, Sept 16, the UN watchdog gave a closed meeting of the 35-nation board of the International Atomic Energy Agency photos and documents proving Iran had tried to refit a long-distance Shehab missile to carry a nuclear payload. The also produced calculations and diagrams from Iranian missile and nuclear experts’ computers on nuclear detonations and how to build nuclear-capable missiles.
The next day, Wednesday, CIA chief Michael Hayden disclosed that the destruction of the Syrian reactor - as a result of intelligence collaboration with a “foreign partner” who first identified the facility’s purpose - spoiled a project “that could have provided Syria with plutonium for nuclear weapons.”
He did not name the foreign partner, but the reference to Israel was obvious. He also said the reactor was similar to the North Korean model.
"We were able last year to spoil a big secret, a project that could have provided Syria with plutonium for nuclear weapons," Hayden said, adding: “When pipes for a massive cooling system were laid out to the Euphrates River in the spring of 2007, there would have been little doubt this was a nuclear reactor."