Reuters: Senior diplomats of the five U.N. Security Council permanent members and Germany may meet in coming weeks to discuss Iran, which Washington suspects of pursuing nuclear arms, the State Department said on Monday. WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senior diplomats of the five U.N. Security Council permanent members and Germany may meet in coming weeks to discuss Iran, which Washington suspects of pursuing nuclear arms, the State Department said on Monday.
Dan Fried, acting U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, would attend the meeting with his counterparts, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters.
“I think Dan Fried, at some point, is going to go to a political directors meeting within the next several weeks,” McCormack said. Such meetings are usually hosted by one of the six countries involved — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.
McCormack said he did not expect the meeting to take place in Europe, indicating it may be hosted by China, Russia or the United States. It could also be held elsewhere.
On March 3 the U.N. Security Council imposed a third round of sanctions on Iran for defying council demands that it suspend its uranium enrichment program, which could be used to make fuel for power plants or atomic weapons.
The five permanent council members and Germany have also said they were ready to enhance a June 2006 offer of incentives if Iran would halt enrichment and negotiate with the six. But Tehran said it would only negotiate with the United Nations.
The six powers have been relying on European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana to pursue talks with Iran’s nuclear negotiators.
So far Tehran has rejected the main condition for beginning talks with the six — freezing its uranium enrichment program — although it had been willing to at least talk with Solana.
The United States and its European allies fear Tehran is amassing the capability to produce atomic weapons using highly enriched uranium fuel. Iran denies the allegation, saying it will only produce low grade fuel for electricity generation.
(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Bill Trott)