Friday six world powers expressed disappointment that Iran had not accepted proposals intended to delay its potential ability to make nuclear bombs, and urged Tehran to reconsider.
Iran has rejected a deal under which it would send enriched uranium abroad for rendering into fuel for medical purposes in Tehran.
"We are disappointed by the lack of follow-up on the three understandings (in the proposed deal)," said senior European Union official Robert Cooper after a meeting of officials from Britain, France, the United States, Germany, Russia and China.
The International Atomic Energy Agency had brokered a plan under which Iran would send low-enriched uranium to Russia and France, but Tehran Wednesday rejected the proposal, Reuters reports.
It was also reported, in an attempt to draw Iran into talks and guarantee that its nuclear ambitions are peaceful, six world powers have offered to reprocess some of its low-enriched uranium abroad.
But on Wednesday, Iran appeared to reject the proposal out of hand, prompting US President Barack Obama to warn of "consequences" in the form of tougher sanctions.
Representatives from the six powers -- the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany -- were meeting in Brussels on Friday to discuss the next steps in what ElBaradei called "an environment of desperation."
ElBaradei, who steps down at the end of November after 12 years, raised doubts about the efficacy of fresh sanctions against the Islamic republic.
"I would hate to see that we are moving back to sanctions. Sanctions at the end of the day, in most cases, hurt the vulnerable and the innocent. It really doesn't resolve issues, AFP reports.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said yesterday that the U.S. doesn’t consider Mottaki’s rejection as Iran’s “final word.” Representatives of the five veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council -- the U.S., China, Russia, France and the U.K. -- plus Germany met in Brussels today to discuss Iran’s nuclear program. ElBaradei said that the powers represented in the Belgian capital were meeting “in an environment of desperation.”
“We urge Iran to reconsider the opportunity offered by this agreement to meet the humanitarian needs of its people and to engage seriously with us in dialogue,” the powers said in a statement after their meeting in Brussels.
The IAEA said in a report on Nov. 16 that it has lost confidence in Iran’s truthfulness and can’t be sure the country isn’t hiding more nuclear facilities. Iran revealed in September the existence of a previously undeclared enrichment facility at Fordo, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of Tehran, near the city of Qom, Bloomberg reports.