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P-5+1 Group Not For Sanction On Iran As It 'Hurts People's Day-To-Day Lives'

The P-5+1 Group of world powers discussing Iran's nuclear program said none of its members is interested in pursuing sanctions to press the Islamic Republic to eschew its nuclear ambitions, as they "understand that sanctions sometimes not only hurt countries, but have an effect for people's day-to-day lives."

A statement issued after the P-5+1 meeting on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly annual debate said the major powers remain completely unified in wanting to get the Iranians to consider and to address the concerns of the international community, and that the P-5+1 is completely united in ensuring that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon.

A senior official of the U.S. State Department said at a special briefing in New York City on Thursday that the P5+1 is unified in its dual-track approach.

He said there were "excellent consultations" during a political directors meeting with European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, after which the Foreign Minsters joined them.

The group warned that "it is necessary for Iran to understand that there are consequences to their not addressing the concerns of the international community, and we believe that it also helps to create political space for the diplomacy, which is far and away the preferred way to deal with this issue."

The group expects there to be contact in the next instance between Ashton and Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili to discuss the next steps forward. Ashton had said she would call him after this P-5+1 consultation, both with political directors and Ministers. And then the group will return to P-5+1 political directors track for a fourth round.

The Ministers agreed that they have to proceed step by step on a basis that was credible. "These informal conversations with Iran are very important to gauge the seriousness of their ability to really engage with us, and to take the diplomatic track, which is much preferred from our perspective," the official said.

He said the pressure track is going to continue. "The Europeans have been discussing additional sanctions. The President of the United States put out a new Executive Order recently. On Monday, the State Department designated NIAC for their relationship as an agent or affiliate of the IRGC. The Congress passed additional legislation, which is being implemented."

In spite of the mounting international pressure, sanctions do not seem to push Iran back toward P-5+1 talks on its disputed nuclear program. Iran denies accusations that it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, and insists that its uranium enrichment is meant for peaceful purposes.

The nuclear talks between the 5+1 Group (five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council - United States, Britain, France, Russia and China, - and Germany) and Iran stumble upon Tehran's claim that the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) recognizes enriching uranium and having nuclear fuel cycle as the "inalienable" rights of Iran.

by RTT Staff Writer

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