U.S., Others Referring Iran to U.N. Security Council

World powers agreed Wednesday to send Iran back to the United Nation's Security Council for possible punishment, saying the clerical regime has given no sign it means to negotiate seriously over its disputed nuclear program.

The United States and other permanent members of the powerful U.N. body said Iran has had long enough to say whether it will meet the world's terms to open bargaining that would give Tehran economic and energy incentives in exchange for giving up suspicious activities.

"The Iranians have given no indication at all that they are ready to engage seriously on the substance of our proposals," French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said on behalf the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China, the five permanent Security Council members, plus Germany and the European Union.

Expressing "profound disappointment," the ministers said, "we have no choice but to return to the United Nations Security Council" and resume a course of possible punishment or coercion that the powers have set aside in hopes of reaching a deal.

Any real punishment or coercion at the Security Council is a long way off, but the group said they will seek an initial resolution requiring Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment.

If Iran does not comply, the group said it would then seek harsher action. The group's short statement did not give any specifics, but it cited a section of the world body's charter that could open the door to economic or other sanctions.

The group said it could stop the Security Council actions at any time should Iran cooperate. The U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency has already told Iran it must put uranium enrichment and related disputed activities on hold, and doing so is the condition for opening negotiations on the incentives package presented to Iran last month.

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