European nations want to unite Russia, U.S. on Iran

Among the issues being discussed at the London meeting,  which brought together officials from the five U.N. Security Council nations and Germany,  was a compromise proposal for possible U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran should Tehran refuse to give up uranium enrichment, diplomats said.

The compromise,  which would drop the automatic threat of military action if Iran remains defiant,  is part of a proposed basket of incentives meant to entice Iran to give up the enrichment process, a possible pathway to nuclear arms. It also spells out the penalties if it does not. It is meant to get support both from Russia and China, which oppose any suggestion of force in pressuring Iran.

France, Britain and Germany discussed the final form of the package Tuesday ahead of submission for hoped-for approval at Wednesday's formal meeting of the five permanent Security Council members,  the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China,  and Germany.

A British Foreign Office official said that the six-nation meeting had begun by noon. But the venue was being kept secret, reflecting the delicate nature of the negotiations, the AP reports.

If accepted, the compromise would resolve wrangling within the Security Council since it became actively involved in March, two months after Iran's nuclear file was referred to it by the 35-nation board of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.'s nuclear monitoring agency, the AP reports.

Russia and China have opposed calls by America, Britain and France for a resolution that would threaten sanctions and be enforceable by military action.