NEW YORK, Sept 27 The United States expects
major powers' consultations on Iran's nuclear program to
continue and eventually lead to another round of talks with
Tehran, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday.
The official, speaking after talks among representatives of
the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council - United
States, France, Britain, Russia and China - and Germany at the
United Nations, said "at some point" the group would likely
return for a fourth round of talks with Iran.
"I think we've got some additional work to do first, so I
would not expect that to happen immediately, but I would hope
that we will get there in the not-too-distant future," said the
official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The push comes at a time when tensions between Iran and
Israel are rising and diplomatic efforts to resolve the
decade-long dispute over Iran's nuclear work have foundered.
Israel, the United States, the European Union and their
allies say Iran is amassing the capability to produce a nuclear
bomb, an allegation the Islamic Republic denies.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drew his "red
line" for Iran's nuclear program on Thursday, despite a U.S.
refusal to set an ultimatum, saying Tehran will be on the brink
of a nuclear weapon in less than a year.
The six world powers, represented by EU foreign policy chief
Catherine Ashton, have sought to persuade Iran to scale back the
enrichment of uranium through intensifying economic sanctions
They have failed to reach a breakthrough in three rounds of
talks since April.
Western sanctions on Iran tightened markedly this year with
an EU ban on crude oil purchases from Iran and U.S. sanctions
targeting banks that deal with Iran's central bank. However,
they have not yielded tangible progress toward a diplomatic
U.N. diplomats say the possibility of further U.N. Security
Council sanctions is slim because Russia and China are opposed
to the idea. There was no sign the issue was discussed on
After the talks on the sidelines of the U.N. General
Assembly in New York, Ashton said the powers had discussed the
need for Iran to take action urgently regarding its nuclear
issue and planned to contact Tehran to continue the process.
"We have to ensure that we aren't going to have talks for
talks' sake, and we have some reason to believe that they will
move to a point of seriousness, but we will test this out every
step of the way," the U.S. official said.