Iran Nuclear NewsMerkel sounds upbeat about fresh Iran sanctions

Merkel sounds upbeat about fresh Iran sanctions

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ImageReuters: German Chancellor Angela Merkel sounded an optimistic note on Tuesday about the chances for fresh U.N. sanctions on Iran following a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and major powers. ImageWASHINGTON (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel sounded an optimistic note on Tuesday about the chances for fresh U.N. sanctions on Iran following a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and major powers.

Merkel said Clinton held talks with on Monday evening with officials of the five permanent U.N. Security Council members and Germany — the so-called P5+1 — about Iran, which the United States accuses of seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

The group met on the sidelines of a 47-nation summit on preventing nuclear terrorism where U.S. President Barack Obama called for global action to lock down loose nuclear materials, saying it would be a "catastrophe for the world" if al Qaeda got an atomic bomb.

"I have been pleased by the progress so far," Merkel said of the effort to devise fresh U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran, which has said that its nuclear program is intended to produce electricity.

"There are promising signs that Russia and China, who before were known to have been more reserved, will continue talks. I believe that time is pressing and that in this regard we should see progress and steps forward," Merkel said.

"I believe that also here, the signals here are more optimistic than pessimistic," she added, in what appeared to be a reference to talks on about Iran on the sidelines of the summit.

Iran has already been hit with three rounds of sanctions by the U.N. Security Council, whose five permanent members are Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.

(Reporting by Andreas Rinke and Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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