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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Iran Refuses to Yield in Talks With EU

BRUSSELS -- Last-ditch talks on Iran's nuclear program achieved "nothing," French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said Monday.

"The negotiating process has reached an impasse and the involvement of the Security Council is now necessary," Douste-Blazy said after French, British and German officials held talks with Iran's deputy nuclear negotiator Javad Vaedi.

German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier added, "There were no new proposals" from the Iranians on Monday.

"Iran has challenged the entire international community," Douste-Blazy told reporters. "The international community has to respond to that challenge with firmness and efficiency."

The French minister's words were echoed by the top British official at the talks. "To be frank, we didn't detect anything new in their approach," said John Sawers, political director from the British Foreign Office.

European Union foreign ministers would jointly call on Iran again to end all nuclear enrichment-related activities, warning that otherwise they would seek to take the matter to the UN Security Council, diplomats said.

Vaedi appeared a bit more upbeat after the meeting. "Now we can continue opening the chance for talks," he said.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the meeting indicated Iran had not abandoned efforts to find a diplomatic solution.

"The fact that Iran asked for these discussions this morning -- they are not negotiations -- illustrates the fact that Iran is ... concerned about its international position," Straw said.

The European Union has led negotiations meant to ease international concerns that Iran could use its nuclear program to produce weapons. Tehran says it only wants to generate nuclear power.

Earlier this month, Iran broke UN seals at a uranium enrichment plant and said it would resume nuclear fuel research after a two-year freeze. Tehran said the research would involve what it called limited uranium enrichment.

The issue was to be picked up again in London late Monday, where U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was joining foreign ministers from the four other permanent Security Council members -- Britain, France, Russia and China -- plus Germany, in an attempt to break the diplomatic deadlock over Iran's nuclear program.

"We will now be reporting to our ministers who will discuss this matter," Sawers said. A draft EU statement said recent Iranian actions "run counter to International Atomic Energy Agency resolutions and ... are a rejection of the efforts to explore whether a basis can be agreed for resuming negotiations."

The EU said a Russian proposal to enrich uranium and send the fuel back to Iran, allowing more oversight of the process, could be the way forward.

The European powers are wary of allowing Iran to carry out nuclear fuel production on its own territory. Enriched uranium can be used as both fuel for nuclear power and in the production of weapons.

"We are looking with interest at that proposal," EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said. "It is a proposal in which enrichment would be done outside, in Russia, but at the moment no agreement has been reached between Russia and Iran."

Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, said Friday that the Russian proposal did not meet "all the nuclear energy needs of Iran."