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US disappointed in China, Russia response on Iran sanctions
The United States on Friday urged China and Russia to make a stronger effort toward agreeing a new set of sanctions on Iran, after what Washington said was a disappointing response by the two countries in major power talks in London.
Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns "was disappointed in China and in Russia," State Department spokesman Tom Casey said.
Burns attended the London talks Friday among the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council -- Britain, France, the United States, Russia and China -- plus Germany to discuss strengthened sanctions against Iran under a third UN resolution.
"We think that at this point we really need to be making more progress toward that resolution and that we need to make that diplomacy much more rigorous," Casey said.
"And we're hoping to see more effort taken on the part of particularly the Chinese, and the Russians as well," he told reporters in Washington.
Russia and China have both said they opposed further punitive steps against Iran over its refusal to stop enriching uranium.
A senior US administration official said Burns was disappointed that the Russians and Chinese came to the London talks unprepared to fully grapple with the issue.
"I think Nick's concern is that the Russians and particularly, in this instance I undertand, the Chinese delegation really didn't come prepared to have a complete, detailed discussion of how to move forward," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Foreign ministers of the six world powers decided in late September that they would wait for two key reports in November before deciding on whether to push for a third round of UN sanctions on Tehran.
The reports on Iran's nuclear activities were to be from International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei and European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana.
Iran and the IAEA agreed on a timetable in August for Tehran to provide answers to outstanding questions over its nuclear program.
The IAEA has been probing Iran's program for the past four years but has so far failed to conclude whether it is peaceful or not.
Solana was also to continue face-to-face talks with Iran's top nuclear negotiators, who have rejected Western charges that it is trying to build atomic weapons under the guise of its civilian nuclear program.
The UN Security Council has passed two rounds of sanctions to force Iran to suspend uranium enrichment, which can be used to supply the fuel for power generation or for nuclear arms.