U.S., Allies to Discuss Iran Sanctions

Senior officials of the United States and five other nations plan to confer Wednesday on possible U.N. sanctions against Iran for processing uranium as part of its disputed nuclear program.

Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns and his counterparts in Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China will confer by video about what should be on a U.N. sanctions list, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Tuesday.

The U.N. Security Council is giving precedence to considering sanctions against North Korea, which announced Monday that it had detonated a nuclear device. That resolution "would almost certainly move at a quicker pace than the Iran resolution," McCormack said.

Russia has suggested the best approach to the standoff with Iran is more diplomacy. The United States is leading the move for sanctions, arguing that they are part of diplomacy and the council had already warned Iran of the consequences when it did not observe an Aug. 31 edict to stop enriching uranium.

Adoption of U.N. Security Council sanctions can be blocked by a veto cast by any of the five permanent council members, the United States, Russia, China, Britain or France.

To get unanimity, the first round of sanctions is likely to be mild, such as imposing restrictions on trade in technology that could be used in an Iranian weapons program.