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UPDATED: 10:19, January 14, 2006
EU troika, Russia, China and US to meet on Iran
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High-ranking diplomats from Britain, Germany, France, Russia, China and the United States will meet in London Monday to discuss the escalating dispute over Iran's nuclear program, the Russian envoy to the United Nations said Friday.

Andrey Denisov told Xinhua that senior officials from the six countries' foreign ministries are expected to discuss in London " what should be done" after Iran removed the UN seals on its nuclear facilities this week.

"Maybe the result (of the meeting) will be the decision to go to the International Atomic Energy Agency's Board of Governors," he said.

Denisov said Russia does not "exclude" the option to bring Iran before the Security Council if all necessary procedures within the IAEA have been exhausted.

But he warned that referring Iran to the council might make things more complicated, citing Tehran's threat to stop all voluntary cooperation with the IAEA.

"Iranians say that it is not a diplomatic issue, but a political issue, if the case is submitted to the Security Council, " Denisov said, adding that the situation would become "absolutely unpredictable" if Iran withdraws from the supplementary Additional Protocols of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

He noted that at present Iran's nuclear research is still being monitored by IAEA inspectors, "which means it is still in the framework of IAEA."

"But what happens next, nobody knows. That is why we must be very careful, why we must think about it twice (whether to refer Iran to the council)," he stressed. "Clearly, bringing Iran before the council would make the situation more complicated."

Meanwhile, Denisov said Russia shared the position of the EU troika that Iran must re-impose the moratorium on its nuclear research before starting new negotiations with the EU.

He also made it clear that Russia, a permanent Security Council member with veto power, is opposed to imposing sanctions on Iran. "It is early even to discuss it (sanctions), because it is the most unpleasant, undesirable option. But at the same time, we understand that the tolerance of European partners of Iran has been exhausted."

The dispute over Iran's nuclear issue escalated this week after IAEA inspectors confirmed on Tuesday that Iran started to remove IAEA seals on enrichment-related equipment and material at Natanz.

At a meeting in Berlin Thursday, foreign ministers of Germany, France and Britain decided to ask the IAEA to bring Iran before the Security Council to face possible sanctions for resuming enrichment-related activities.

Source: Xinhua

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