The European Union says it is too early to consider imposing sanctions on Iran for defying a United Nations deadline to halt uranium enrichment.
Finnish Foreign Minister Tuomioja, whose country holds the European Union's rotating presidency, told an informal meeting of foreign ministers of the 25-nation bloc Friday in Finland that diplomacy is still the best way to get Tehran to comply with Security Council demands.
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said negotiations will start when Iran sits down with the five permanent members of the Security Council (the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia) and Germany in the coming days. Mr. Solana is to meet with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, next week.
Earlier this week, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran was continuing uranium enrichment. It said it could not confirm Iran's stated position of pursuing nuclear technology only for peaceful purposes.
Iran missed an August 31st Security Council deadline to stop uranium enrichment, raising the possibility of sanctions. In Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says his country will never give up its right to develop its nuclear program.
The United States and its western allies allege Tehran is seeking to obtain nuclear weapons, a charge Iran denies.