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Germany Fears Iran Stance Spells End of Negotiations

Discussions between the EU's negotiation team and Iran over the Islamic state's nuclear program are unlikely to resume, according to the German foreign ministry. Sources suggest the next stop is the UN Security Council.

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When Iran broke the international seals, the hopes of a diplomatic solution took a nose-dive

The German government, an integral part of the European Union’s negotiations team in the Iran nuclear dispute, believes that the chance of resuming talks between the so-called EU-3 and Tehran has been severely damaged by the resumption of nuclear activities by the Islamic state.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier will meet with Jack Straw of Britain and France's Philippe Douste-Blazyon Thursday afternoon in Berlin to discuss the next move as fears increase in the western world that the Iranians are covertly progressing towards a nuclear weapons capacity under the guise of a civil atomic program.

Diplomatic sources close to the EU-3 suggest that the Berlin meeting will end with Germany, France and Britain agreeing that future discussions with Iran should be called off and that the issue should be referred to the United Nation's Security Council.

Merkel to confer with Bush, Putin

Fotomontage Angela Merkel George Bush

Angela Merkel meets George Bush on Thursday and Iran is on the agenda

The sources also say that Chancellor Angela Merkel will be informed of the results of the meeting during her current visit to Washington where the subject will be raised between the German leader and US President George W. Bush in their discussions. Merkel is also likely to gauge Russia's response when she moves on to a meeting with President Putin in Moscow next week.

Gernot Erler, Germany's deputy foreign minister, told German radio broadcaster Deutschlandfunk on Wednesday that he was skeptical whether the planned January 18 talks between the EU-3 and Iran would go ahead or not.

"I don't know what the three foreign ministers will decide (on Thursday), but I believe they cannot continue to negotiate without an Iranian assurance that there will be no concrete enrichment activity," Erler said.

Erler added that suspicions that Iran was progressing towards a nuclear weapons program had not been adequately dispelled as Tehran had used very mixed messages in communicating the reasons for its nuclear research to the Iranian people while telling the rest of the world it was for peaceful energy purposes.

US could get its way with UN sanctions

Abstimmung im UN Sicherheitsrat

Iran may be brought before the Security Council

The foreign office minister said that it was not entirely unlikely that if Iran failed to yield to pressure to end its research program, the nuclear quarrel would go before the UN Security Council, just as the United States has been threatening for months.

"It is not hard to imagine things going in that direction," Erler said, adding however that he saw no immediate danger of military action.

Iran broke the international seals on an atomic research plant on Tuesday, allowing the research into nuclear materials to resume.

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