Senior diplomats from the six nations confronting Iran over its nuclear program-- Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States (US) and Germany--were expected to hold a video conference Wednesday to discuss an initial list of sanctions to use against Teheran, US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.
The UN ambassadors of the six nations based in New York would then begin drafting a sanctions resolution, he said.
Foreign ministers from the five permanent members of UN Security Council plus Germany agreed at a meeting Friday in London to hit Iran with sanctions for ignoring UN demands that it suspend uranium enrichment activities.
But plans to draw up a resolution on sanctions at the UN this week were overtaken by North Korea's announcement on Monday that it had carried out its first nuclear arms test.
The move unleashed a wave of international condemnation and diplomats at the UN have since been scrambling to agree on punitive measures to draw Pyongyang back from the nuclear brink.
The UN Security Council was Wednesday to resume talks on hitting North Korea with tough punitive actions for its nuclear test.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in a series of US television interviews, said that despite the dramatic developments in Northeast Asia moves to draw up a sanctions resolution against Iran were still on track.
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, reaffirmed on Tuesday that his government would not "back down" in the confrontation.
Iran insists its uranium enrichment program is designed only to provide fuel for civilian nuclear power stations and is therefore permitted under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty to which Teheran is a signatory.
(China Daily October 12, 2006)