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US sees no early breakthrough at Iran talks

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Brussels, Dec 5: The US official due to discuss Iran's nuclear programme with other major powers in Paris today said he did not expect a breakthrough, but urged Russia and China to join Western countries quickly in agreeing sanctions against Tehran.

''I wouldn't say it's going to be a breakthrough meeting but I do think it is an important meeting along the way. It's high time that we passed a U.N. Security Council resolution on Iran,'' US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns told reporters in Brussels before heading off to the French capital.

''We've waited long enough. We've had hours and hours of discussions and we really do need the Russian and Chinese governments to shift into third or fourth gear ... and to work more quickly to agree with us on the basis of a resolution.'' Burns told a news briefing on the margins of a meeting of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe that such a resolution was ''not complicated''.

''We know it's going to impinge upon Iran's nuclear and missile programmes. We know that we all want to cut off the ability of Iran to seek financial support, or technological support to continue its enrichment or missile programmes, or heavy water reactor programmes,'' he said.

The West suspects Iran is using its civilian nuclear programme as cover to build an atomic bomb but Tehran says its work is peaceful.

Senior diplomats from UN Security Council permanent members Russia, China, France, Britain and the United States, plus Germany, were due in Paris later for a new round of talks on Iran.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana will also attend.

Russia has refused to agree to tough sanctions to punish Tehran's refusal to meet an August. 31 UN deadline to abandon uranium enrichment, which can produce fuel for nuclear power plants or atom bombs.

REUTERS

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