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European and Iranian Negotiators Report Progress


A senior European diplomat and Iran's chief nuclear negotiator say they have made progress in talks over Iran's nuclear program.

In Vienna Sunday, the European Union's foreign policy chief Javier Solana said discussions with Iran's Ali Larijani have been productive and that negotiations will continue in the coming days.

Larijani said some misunderstandings have been cleared up. The talks may represent Tehran's last chance to avoid international sanctions for its nuclear program.

The United States is pressing for sanctions to punish Iran for defying an August 31st U.N. deadline to suspend uranium enrichment.

Earlier Sunday, Iran's Foreign Ministry said Tehran will not stop its uranium enrichment work, describing the issue of suspension as a "thing of the past."

Washington says it expects the U.N. Security Council to begin working in the coming days on a resolution authorizing sanctions against Iran.

But China and Russia, two permanent members of the Council, have been reluctant to punish Iran. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is urging Iran to consider international concerns about its nuclear program.

Speaking in Helsinki Saturday, Mr. Wen also warned against increasing pressure on Tehran, saying the standoff should be settled peacefully.

The U.S. and other Western nations have accused Iran of enriching uranium for developing nuclear weapons. Iran has says its nuclear activities are for peaceful uses.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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