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US warns Iran as nuclear talks yield no deal

world Updated: Jul 20, 2008 08:43 IST

World powers' latest bid to make Iran halt its nuclear programme stalled on Saturday as high-level talks involving US and Iranian officials ended without a deal and Washington warned of possible further "confrontation."

"It was a constructive meeting, but still we didn't get the answer to our questions," EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said after the talks in Geneva that aimed to get Tehran to give up its disputed nuclear programme in return for a package of incentives.

"There is always progress in these talks, but insufficient," he said, adding that the Iranians were expected to respond to the latest incentives within two weeks.

He did not overtly address the question of further sanctions, but the US State Department after the talks warned Iran to accept the incentives or face "further isolation."

"We hope the Iranian people understand that their leaders need to make a choice between cooperation, which would bring benefits to all, and confrontation, which can only lead to further isolation," spokesman Sean McCormack said in a statement.

Detailing the proposals on the table on Saturday, Solana said the international community proposed that "we refrain from (further) Security Council resolutions and for Iran to refrain from nuclear activity including the installations of new centrifuges" for processing uranium.

"We are looking forward to an answer from Iran in this question... in a couple of weeks," he said.

Russia's deputy foreign minister Sergei Kisliak, who attended the talks, was quoted by the Ria-Novosti news agency as saying that he too expected a response from Iran in two weeks.

"We hope that the two weeks we agreed on with the Iranians will help Iran to specify its stance on our proposals," he said.

Iranian, European and US officials, including US State Department official William Burns, attended the talks in Geneva's historic Town Hall as part of a bid to resolve the long-running dispute over Tehran's nuclear programme.