(IranMania) - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that talks on proposed sanctions against Iran's nuclear program could take place early next week, Russian news agencies reported.
He said the meeting, suggested by France, would focus on the draft UN resolution on Iran and would take place at a top diplomatic level, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported from Jordan, where he was on an official visit, reports Trend.
Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns will attend a European conference in Brussels next week, probably on Tuesday, and will confer there with European diplomats about the resolution.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier all agreed Friday to the meeting, Lavrov said, according to the Interfax news agency. China also might attend, although it is not clear if it will.
Lavrov said Russia was ready to vote for a UN ban on exports of nuclear materials and sensitive technologies to Iran. But he said Moscow was opposed "to such sanctions and steps that could affect the International Atomic Energy Agency's activities in Iran," ITAR-Tass reported.
The Europeans and Americans pushed for tough, broad sanctions against Iran after it ignored a UN-imposed Aug. 31 deadline to halt uranium enrichment.
Russia has said it will agree only to more narrowly focused sanctions.
In Washington, the State Department said it remained confident that a resolution imposing sanctions on Iran would ultimately be adopted.
"No action is not acceptable," spokesman Tom Casey said. "We have to do something."
Russia and China, who have major commercial ties with Iran, have urged the UN to seek talks rather than sanctions, despite the failure of a European Union effort to draw Iran to the negotiating table.
The Europeans circulated a draft UN Security Council resolution in October that would order all countries not to sell Iran materials and technology that could contribute to its nuclear and missile programs.
The draft resolution would also impose a travel ban and asset freeze on any companies, individuals and organizations involved in those programs.
The draft sanctions would not halt construction of a nuclear power plant at Bushehr, Iran, being built by the Russians. They would bar the sale of nuclear fuel needed for the reactor.
Russia proposed major changes that would limit sanctions solely to measures that would keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. Russia wants to eliminate any travel ban, asset freeze, or mention of Bushehr.