Foreign ministers to meet in Berlin on Iran’s nuclear program

Diplomats from the United States, Russia, China and Europe focused Thursday on how much and what kind of pressure to bring on Iran to get it to compromise on its suspect nuclear activities.

The meeting follows agreement Wednesday by the 15-member Security Council to ask the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, to report back in 30 days on Iran's compliance with demands to stop enriching uranium.

The council statement, made available to The Associated Press, takes into account Russian and Chinese reservations about too much toughness, while meeting U.S., French and British calls for keeping the pressure on Tehran.

It "notes with serious concern Iran's decision to resume enrichment-related activities .... and to suspend cooperation with the IAEA under the additional protocol", an agreement allowing agency inspectors wide access on short notice to Iran's nuclear program.

It calls on Iran to return to "full and sustained suspension of all enrichment-related ... activities."

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called the statement an "important diplomatic step" that showed the international community's concern about Iran. Before meeting with her counterparts, she was consulting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"We are very close today to taking the first major step in the Security Council to deal with Iran's nearly 20-year-old clandestine nuclear weapons program," John Bolton, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said in New York. "It sends an unmistakable message to Iran that its efforts to deny the obvious fact of what it's doing are not going to be sufficient," reports the AP.

I.L.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team