By Alexander G. Higgins
GENEVA - With pressure building to curb Iran's nuclear program, disarmament officials from major nations began meetings Thursday that the United States says will focus on Tehran in the campaign to stop the spread of atomic weapons.
The Group of Eight session came as threats mount to haul Iran before the U.N. Security Council unless it renounces uranium enrichment, which the United States and other countries say will lead to nuclear weapons.
The discussions will give the officials a chance to sort out differences over the approach to next week's meeting of the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria, which could trigger action by the Security Council.
U.S. Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton was hosting the Geneva session with his counterparts from Russia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.
The United States wants the IAEA to declare Iran in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, a move that could lead to action by the 15-nation Security Council, which could impose sanctions. European countries have urged less precipitate action.
Secretary of State Colin Powell has demanded that Iran renounce uranium enrichment, which the United States regards as a step toward the development of nuclear weapons.
Highly enriched uranium can be used to make nuclear weapons. Iran insists it only is interested in nuclear power, which can be created with lower levels of enrichment.
The Geneva gathering is a follow-up to an agreement reached at the G-8 summit meeting in Sea Island, Ga., in June.