Reuters: Ministers from major powers will consult this weekend with European negotiator Javier Solana on the next moves in getting Iran to curb its nuclear program, the U.S. State Department said on Friday. WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Ministers from major powers will consult this weekend with European negotiator Javier Solana on the next moves in getting Iran to curb its nuclear program, the U.S. State Department said on Friday.
European Union foreign policy chief Solana met Iran’s negotiator Ali Larijani in Berlin this week and diplomats said afterward that Iran was still refusing to suspend its uranium enrichment program as demanded by the major powers.
“At the ministerial level there will be a conversation exactly about what Mr. Solana heard and how that met or did not meet the understandings arrived at all along the way,” said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.
“They will talk about what it is that Mr. Larijani said and what the next steps will be,” he added.
McCormack said U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had spoken to Solana after his talks with Larijani, but he did not give details.
Solana’s telephone conference call would include foreign ministers from the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — the major powers trying to get Iran to give up its enrichment activities. The West suspects Iran of trying to build nuclear weapons, but Tehran says its nuclear program is for civilian purposes.
The U.N. Security Council originally set an August 31 deadline for Iran to halt enrichment or face sanctions. Iran ignored that deadline and the six powers then agreed to give Solana until early October to get a deal.
“Time is running quite short,” said McCormack.
“We would prefer that the Iranians open up the doorway to a negotiated solution, but we are fully prepared to go down that other pathway (sanctions),” he added.
While the United States wants sanctions, Russia and China have strong misgivings over such punitive measures and France has also said diplomatic efforts should be given longer.
Solana has said he plans another round of talks soon with the Iranians.