The five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany have made progress on a package of incentives aimed at persuading Iran to cease its nuclear activities, but they have failed to reach a final agreement.
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Interactive Map of Iran Nuclear Installations
A State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack Wednesday said great progress was made in the six-party talks in London. But he said the U.S., Europe, Russia and China have not come to what he called complete closure.
He said officials at the talks will consult with their governments before there are follow-up meetings.
The officials were discussing proposed European trade and technology incentives for Iran to stop enriching uranium, as well as possible sanctions if the incentives fail.
It has been widely reported that the package includes Western aid to build a light-water reactor in Iran for nuclear energy. The U.S. favors sanctions if Tehran continues enriching uranium. Russia and China oppose sanctions.
The Washington Post Wednesday quoted unnamed sources who said Iran is seeking direct talks with the U.S. in the nuclear standoff. But a White House spokesman told reporters the U.S. will not consider direct talks until Iran has stopped enriching uranium.
U.S Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is due to meet later Wednesday with Mohamed el-Baradei, head of the U.N.'s atomic energy agency.
Also today, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran has mastered the entire nuclear fuel cycle. He said Iran has the right to the technology for nuclear energy.
U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has urged Iran to lift the cloud of uncertainty on its nuclear activities.
Western powers suspect Iran plans to make nuclear weapons. Tehran denies this.
(Courtesy VOA: Some information for this report provided by AP, Reuters and AFP)