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    U.S. denies losing hope for diplomatic solution to Iran crisis

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    State Department spokesman Sean McCormack has denied that Germany is opposed to a stepped-up sanctions regime against Iran, or that Washington has as a result despaired of a diplomatic solution to the standoff with Tehran.

    WASHINGTON, September 13 (RIA Novosti) - State Department spokesman Sean McCormack has denied that Germany is opposed to a stepped-up sanctions regime against Iran, or that Washington has as a result despaired of a diplomatic solution to the standoff with Tehran.

    A Tuesday report on the conservative Fox News television channel claimed that Washington was preparing to bomb Iran within the next eight to nine months because of Germany's refusal to support additional sanctions against the Iranian regime over its nuclear program.

    German officials were quoted recently as saying that Berlin wants ongoing diplomatic initiatives to succeed before applying any more sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

    However, McCormack said suggestions that Germany was less than fully committed to a tougher sanctions regime were spurious.

    "In the recent meeting of the P-5 plus one [permanent Security Council members plus Germany] at the expert level, Germany once again reiterated the fact that it is fully supportive of a new UN resolution, with sanctions, and we are all on the same page in terms of substance as well as timing," he said.

    He said the U.S. remains hopeful that progress toward a new resolution will be made at next week's meeting of the P-5, which will be held in Washington September 21, and that the U.S. will continue to rely on strictly diplomatic measures to affect a breakthrough in its dispute with Tehran.

    "We are still committed to a diplomatic solution that has many fronts," he said. "One of those fronts is working with the UN, working through the Security Council, and coming up with a new sanctions resolution."

    At the heart of the standoff is Iran's pursuit of uranium enrichment, which the West suspects is aimed at developing a nuclear weapon. However, Iran insists its program is peaceful and a sovereign right as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

    Recently, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad boasted that the country had reached a milestone with the launch of some 3,000 centrifuges for uranium enrichment, thereby achieving "industrial scale" production and paving the way for a fully self-sufficient nuclear power industry.

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