GENEVA - The United States narrowed differences with European allies Friday on how to pressure Iran to renounce the development of nuclear weapons, but it hasn't yet won agreement to haul the country before the U.N. Security Council, a U.S. official said.
Washington wants the Europeans to back its attempts to have Iran declared in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
If the U.N. atomic watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, were to vote to do so at its three-day meeting in Austria next week, it could lead to Security Council sanctions.
Britain, France and Germany have signaled they don't want the IAEA to vote on the U.S. proposal before November, to give diplomatic efforts more time.
The gap between the United States and those three countries was narrowed at a meeting of the Group of Eight countries, U.S. Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton said. But, he added, "We have a ways to go."
Talks with G-8 officials will continue into the weekend by telephone and e-mail, Bolton said.
The United States demands that Iran renounce uranium enrichment, which could be used to develop nuclear weapons. Iran insists it only is interested in nuclear power, which can be created with lower levels of enrichment than the levels necessary for nuclear weapons.
Bolton said Iran could still avert any action by stopping suspect programs and opening them to inspectors.
"If they have nothing to hide, it's very easy to demonstrate," he said.
Russia has said it will continue to work with Iran on building its nuclear power program, but says it will ensure that its cooperation cannot contribute to a nuclear weapons program. Russia's position has been criticized by the United States.
Also attending the Geneva meeting were officials from the other G-8 countries: Italy, Japan and Canada.
Bolton maintains that Iran "has concealed a large-scale, covert nuclear weapons program for over 18 years."
He told the Hudson Institute, a private research group in Washington last month that the United States was "using every diplomatic tool at our disposal" to pressure Iran to halt any illicit activities.
That included U.S. discussions with the IAEA and G-8, and separate talks with Russian, Chinese, British, French and German officials and others, Bolton said.
The Geneva gathering is a follow-up to an agreement for consultations on proliferation reached at the G-8 summit meeting in Sea Island, Ga., in June.