UNITED NATIONS – France said Tuesday it hopes to circulate a draft U.N. resolution that is expected to call for sanctions on Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment and return to negotiations on its nuclear program.
France's U.N. Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere said France, Britain and Germany — who have led negotiations with Iran — were still working on the Security Council resolution.
"I hope that the text can be circulated by the end of the week," he said.
European Union foreign ministers said after a meeting in Luxembourg on Tuesday that they have no choice but to back diplomatic talks at the United Nations about sanctions against Iran.
The ministers supported a decision by the U.N.'s five permanent Security Council members — the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France — and Germany to pursue limited sanctions against Tehran while keeping the door open to future talks.
The six countries offered Iran a package of economic incentives and political rewards in June if it agreed to consider a long-term moratorium on enrichment and commit to a freeze on uranium enrichment before talks to discuss details of their package.
But Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly said his country would continue enrichment, and is not intimidated by the possibility of sanctions.
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who has led talks on behalf of the six nations, said he spoke to top Iranian negotiation Ali Larijani on Monday but "the situation hasn't changed," and Iran continues to refuse to suspend its nuclear enrichment program.
"We have to see if we can overcome the situation that makes it impossible to start negotiations," he said.
Solana's negotiations with Tehran were seen as a final bid to avoid a full-blown confrontation between Iran and the U.N. after it ignored an Aug. 31 deadline to suspend enrichment or face punishment.
The United States has called for broad sanctions, such as a total ban on missile and nuclear technology sales, while the Russians and Chinese back prohibitions of selected items as a first step.