Six powers delay talks on new Iran sanctions


NEW YORK — Six key nations agreed Friday to delay a new U.N. resolution that would toughen sanctions against Iran until November to see if Tehran answers questions about its suspect nuclear program.

A joint statement from the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany said they would finalize the new resolution and bring it to a vote unless reports in November from the chief U.N. nuclear official and the European Union’s foreign policy chief “show a positive outcome of their efforts.”

U.N. nuclear chief Mohamed ElBaradei and Iranian officials agreed in July that Tehran would answer questions from agency experts by December on more than two decades of nuclear activity _ most of it secret until revealed more than four years ago. Technical officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency returned to Tehran this week to start probing outstanding questions, some with possible weapons applications.

In the statement issued after a ministerial meeting of the six countries attended by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, the six countries welcomed the IAEA agreement with Iran.

“We call upon Iran, however, to produce tangible results rapidly and effectively by clarifying all outstanding issues and concerns on Iran’s nuclear program includings topics which could have the military nuclear dimension,” the statement said.

Two U.N. resolutions imposing sanctions on Iran have failed to persuade it to suspend uranium enrichment. Tehran insists its program is aimed at producing energy for civilian use, but the U.S., its European allies and many others fear the program’s real goal is to produce nuclear weapons.