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France hosts Iran talks, hopeful on resolution deal

Written by: Staff
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PARIS, Dec 4 (Reuters) The six major powers are in a position to agree on the text of a UN resolution to impose sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme, France's foreign minister said a day before they meet to discuss it in Paris.

''I think that we can now reach an agreement on the text,'' Philippe Douste-Blazy told reporters today.

''We are in agreement with Russia to adopt sanctions against the Iranian programme of proliferation,'' he said after meeting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of a meeting of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Brussels.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei told an online news briefing that political directors from foreign ministries of the six would ''discuss the Iranian nuclear issue'' in Paris tomorrow.

He said the EU's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, would also take part.

The six parties involved are UN Security Council permanent members Russia, China, France, Britain and the United States, plus Germany.

They are trying to agree how to deal with Iran's failure to heed UN demands that it should stop uranium enrichment. The West suspects Iran is building a bomb but Tehran says its nuclear programme is peaceful.

But negotiations over a Security Council resolution have been deadlocked for months, with most opposition coming from Moscow which balked at imposing rigid sanctions over Tehran's refusal to meet the Aug 31 UN deadline to abandon the enrichment or face tough UN measures.

China has also opposed punishing Iran with sanctions.

The United States in particular was becoming impatient with Russia over its refusal to sign up to a tough sanctions resolution.

REUTERS SSC VV1951

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