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President Barack Obama spent much of his time in Asia warning Iran that his patience for nuclear diplomacy is wearing thin. "Iran has taken weeks now and has not shown its willingness to say yes to this proposal," Obama said Thursday in Seoul, referring to a deal under which Iran would export the bulk of its stock of enriched uranium to Russia for conversion into reactor fuel. "And so, as a consequence we have begun discussions with our international partners about the importance of having consequences."
But Friday's meeting in Brussels between representatives of the group of Western powers, Russia and China that has been negotiating with Iran produced little indication that new sanctions may be imminent if Iran continue to prevaricate. The difficulty facing Washington in mustering support for ratcheting up pressure on Iran was already clear in Thursday's statement by a Russian foreign ministry official that, "As far as we know, there has been no final official answer from Tehran", and that "there is currently no discussion on working out additional sanctions against Iran." And Friday's Brussels meeting simply reaffirmed disappointment in Iran's failure to embrace the deal thus far, but reiterated the commitment of the Western powers, Russia and China to continue to engage in dialogue with Tehran.