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Talks on Iran nuclear crisis to resume Monday by phone: US

Agence France Presse – The six world powers weighing possible sanctions against Iran over its disputed nuclear program plan to continue talks by telephone next week after a "productive" discussion on Thursday in Berlin, a US State Department spokesman said on Thursday.

Nicholas Burns, US undersecretary for political affairs, "had a productive meeting" with his counterparts from China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany in Berlin, spokesman Sean McCormack said.

"The political directors expressed regret that Iran has not accepted the conditions of the international community as stated" in UN Security Council resolution 1696, McCormack said. The resolution demands Tehran halt its uranium enrichment activities or face possible sanctions

"They began discussions on the measures we can take in the Security Council in response to Iran’s failure to comply with the resolution," McCormack told reporters.

"All agreed that at this time we are not going to discuss the details of those deliberations. The political directors also agreed they would discuss these issues by phone on Monday."

Iran failed to meet an August 31 deadline set out in the UN resolution to freeze uranium enrichment, a process that makes nuclear reactor fuel but can also be used to produce material for an atom bomb.

Halting enrichment is also the condition the six nations — permanent Security Council members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany — have made for opening negotiations on giving Iran trade, security and technology benefits.

Earlier, McCormack said that Italy, Canada and Japan had sent envoys to Berlin to join the talks.

The three representatives were to have dined with US diplomat Nicholas Burns, he said.
"I haven’t had a chance to talk to Nick about his meetings. I think he’s still having an informal dinner with the Canadians, the Italians and the Japanese.

"That was after the P-5-plus-1 meeting," he said, using diplomatic shorthand for the UN Security Council’s five permanent members, Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany.

"I would expect they also had meetings with the other members of the P-5," McCormack said, but their main purpose was "to meet with Nick."

Canada supported without reservations the UN resolution.
Italy, one of Iran’s top trade partners, calls the nuclear program "legitimate" provided that its goal was for "peaceful purposes."

Japan, a non-permanent member of the UN council, relies on Iran for much of its energy and fears its economy would be hard hit if UN sanctions were imposed on Iranian oil.

All the countries are members of the Group of Eight advanced countries, excepting China.