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Six major powers - Germany, France, the United Kingdom, China, Russia, and the United States - have agreed to continue discussions on the text of a new United Nations Security Council resolution concerning Iran's pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability. Since December 2006, the Security Council has unanimously adopted two resolutions imposing sanctions on Iran for failing to suspend all uranium enrichment-related and reprocessing activities. Highly enriched uranium can be used to make nuclear weapons.
U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns commented on the decision by the P-5 plus one countries:
"They want to bring the work on constructing a sanctions resolution to a close. That's the job that we will undertake now. They wanted to threaten to vote that resolution, and we've done that."
The P-5 plus one countries agreed to postpone until November adopting new sanctions on Iran, pending reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency, or I.A.E.A, and Javier Solano, the European Union High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy. Mohamed ElBaradei, the Director General of the I.A.E.A., will report on whether Iran has complied fully with its recent agreement to resolve all questions concerning its nuclear activities, especially its P-1 and P-2 centrifuge programs.
In addition, European Union chief diplomat Solana will report on a new effort to convince Iran to suspend all its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities, and implement the I.A.E.A. Additional Protocol to its Safeguard Agreement, which provides for enhanced transparency in Iran's nuclear program. If both of these efforts are unsuccessful, new U.N. Security Council sanctions will be adopted.
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U.S. Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns says the six nations are
showing Iran that "we wish to find a peaceful diplomatic way forward. . . .on the nuclear issue, but we are certainly prepared to take further punitive action in the form of sanctions should the Iranians not meet the requirements that have been laid down."