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World powers postpone Iran parley

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A meeting of world powers to discuss sanctioning Iran was postponed, apparently because of Russia-U.S. tensions.

The “Permanent Five plus One” were to meet in New York this week during the United Nations General Assembly’s opening session to discuss a fourth round of Security Council sanctions aimed at getting Iran to stand down from its suspected nuclear weapons program. The “P5 1″ is comprised of the five veto-wielding members of the Security Council – Russia, the United States, China, Britain and France – as well as Germany.

Meetings will take place but not on the foreign minister level, said Sean McCormack, the U.S. State Department spokesman.

“We agree with them, the time is not right to have a meeting at the ministerial level,” McCormack said after Russia announced that the ministerial level meeting was postponed. “There is still work to be done at the political directors’ level, and the ministers will have an opportunity to meet at some future time.”

McCormack would not explain why the meeting was postponed, but he did not reject the assertion by a reporter at the news conference Tuesday that tensions over Russia’s invasion of Georgia this summer brought about the delay.

“Talk to the Russians if they have anything more in particular they want to say,” he said.

McCormack said the Russians remain committed to containing Iran’s nuclear threat.

“Everybody agrees that Iran possessing the technologies that would allow it to develop a nuclear weapon is not something they want to see come about,” he said. “Russia’s national interest regarding Iran and seeing that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon hasn’t changed in the past week.”

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