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Five Permanent UN Security Council Members to Meet on Iran


The five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plan to reconvene Friday to discuss an initial response to the dispute over Iran's nuclear program.

Ambassadors from the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China will hold talks ahead of a likely meeting by the full Council next week.

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy says he believes it is still possible to resolve the issue through negotiations with Iran. Douste-Blazy also urged Iran to comply with the International Atomic Energy Agency's demand that it halt all its uranium enrichment activities.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told a U.S. Senate committee Thursday that Iran may pose the number one challenge to the United States.

But the Bush administration also has made it clear that it will not seek sanctions against Iran in the first stage of Security Council talks on the issue.

On Wednesday, the 35-nation board of the I.A.E.A. reported Iran to the Security Council for restarting its uranium enrichment program. The Council could impose sanctions if it finds that Iran's activities violate the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The United States and the European Union accuse Iran of using its nuclear program as a cover for developing an atomic bomb. Tehran insists its research is for peaceful purposes.
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