The US government is coming under pressure at home to pursue direct talks with Iran over its disputed nuclear programme. Until now the White House has adopted a multilateral approach by going through the United Natons. Richard Lugar, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is among the US Senators who believe that bilateral talks may be more effective.
Last week, Iran announced that it had successfully enriched uranium for the first time, despite being given 30 days by the UN Security Council to halt all sensitive atomic activities. Western nations suspect the world’s fourth largest oil producer of secretly wanting to develop nuclear weapons. But Tehran insists its nuclear programme is purely for peaceful energy purposes. The UN Security Council is due to meet later this month to discuss whether to impose sanctions.