Britain hosts Iran crisis talks
Britain will host talks on sanctioning Iran over its nuclear programme.


Foreign Secretary Jack Straw will meet counterparts in London ahead of a crunch meeting in Vienna this week on referring Iran to the United Nations Security Council.

He will hold informal talks with ministers from France, Germany, Russia, the US and China who are in town for a conference on Afghanistan.

Foreign Office sources said no firm decisions would be made at the meeting, but it would prepare the ground for Thursday's talks of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Britain is expected to lead calls, with the backing of France, Germany and the US, for Iran to be referred to the security council.

There is growing pressure on Iran after it announced it was resuming work at its Natanz uranium enrichment facility.

Tehran has always said the facility is to provide energy. But there are international fears it is trying to develop a nuclear weapons capability.

Mr Straw said he did not want to see sanctions against Iran. But he said Tehran had "forced everybody else's hand" by breaking the seals on its centrifuges.

The Foreign Secretary also played down fears of military action after influential US senator John McCain said this weekend that it was important to retain the "leverage" of the military option.

Mr Straw admitted there were differences between the US and Britain over the use of force, but insisted the option was "genuinely" not on the table.

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