Leading international powers may have an agreement within weeks on a third U.N. sanctions resolution against Iran over its nuclear program, a French diplomat said after high-level talks in Paris on Saturday.
A compromise text on a new resolution would be circulated among the six countries involved in the talks — the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany — next week, the diplomat said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.
“We could have a resolution in the short term,” the official said, adding he was “relatively optimistic” it could be completed in the coming weeks.
The talks were held a day after the collapse of an 18-month European Union effort to persuade Iran to stop uranium enrichment, a process that can be used both for producing nuclear energy and nuclear weapons.
The French official called those talks “a disaster.”
On Friday, EU envoy Javier Solana held meetings with Saeed Jalili, Iran’s senior nuclear negotiator, in London. The meeting was seen as a last chance for Iran to give in to U.N. pressure and freeze its enrichment program before an EU report on Iran’s nuclear program that will be used in the discussion of new sanctions.
“Our objective remains the opening of negotiations” on Iran’s nuclear program, the French diplomat said. “But all the efforts to open negotiations are going nowhere.”
The United States, France and Britain are urging quick and tough new sanctions, but Russia and China appear to be skeptical.
Still, the French official insisted that there were no “deep differences” among the six countries at Saturday’s talks.
While Iran insists it has a right to peaceful use of uranium enrichment to generate power, Washington and others fear the activity could be misused to create the fissile core of nuclear warheads.
The U.N. Security Council imposed two previous sets of sanctions in December 2006 and March this year. The current set bans Iranian arms exports and freezes the assets of 28 people and groups involved in its nuclear and missile programs.