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Iran sanctions likely to rise as election issue

Tehran dismisses latest UN offer on nuclear program, prolonging the debate over more sanctions.

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Iran on Tuesday failed to take up international powers on their offer designed to defuse a deepening nuclear dispute, setting the stage for months of debate over further sanctions against Tehran – and virtually guaranteeing that Iran will figure as a top foreign policy issue in the US presidential campaign.

In a written response to the latest offer from the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany, Iran apparently argues for more talks but does not even mention the group's proposal for a freeze on further sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program in exchange for a freeze on uranium enrichment.

That offer was designed to create a window for substantive negotiations on a package of incentives – endorsed by the United States – in exchange for a dismantling of Iran's uranium enrichment activity.

Rejection of the so-called "freeze for freeze" offer made earlier this year by the five permanent Security Council members – Britain, China, France, Russia, and the US – plus Germany, would set in motion discussions of what would be a fourth round of UN sanctions against Tehran.

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