Diplomats from six world powers are said to be nearing agreement on a new package of United Nations sanctions on Iran for its controversial nuclear program.
Officials from Germany and the five permanent U.N. Security Council members -- the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China -- discussed a resolution Tuesday that would impose a modest package of penalties on Iran.
Britain's U.N. ambassador, Emyr Jones-Parry, later voiced optimism about prospects for quick approval of the resolution.
Russia's envoy, Vitaly Churkin, cautioned that Russia and China still have issues to be resolved but said talks on the resolution have been "very good."
The six powers plan to meet again Wednesday and hope to agree on the text of a draft resolution that could be sent to the U.N. Security Council later in the day.
Late last year, the council imposed limited sanctions on Iran and issued a 60-day deadline for Tehran to stop producing enriched uranium, which can be used to make nuclear weapons. Iran ignored the resolution.
Meanwhile, an Iranian official, government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham said his government is working to get a U.S. visa for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad so he can address the U.N. Security Council. Mr. Ahmadinejad has said he wants to explain Iran's nuclear program to the U.N. body.
A U.S. State Department spokesman, Tom Casey said Monday he doubts Mr. Ahmadinejad's appearance before the council would serve a positive purpose
The United States and its allies suspect Iran is working to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.