Doubts cast on planned EU-Iran nuclear talks

20th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

20 May 2005, BRUSSELS/TEHRAN - European Union diplomats said on Friday the bloc had not received any formal Iranian confirmation that nuclear talks would be held with Germany, France and the UK as scheduled in Brussels on 24 May.

20 May 2005

BRUSSELS/TEHRAN - European Union diplomats said on Friday the bloc had not received any formal Iranian confirmation that nuclear talks would be held with Germany, France and the UK as scheduled in Brussels on 24 May.

"Anything can happen," an EU diplomat told Deutsche Presse- Agentur, saying there were some suggestions that the meeting could now be held on 25 May in Geneva.

"We are ready for the talks ... we want the meeting," said the diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Iran, however, had been sending conflicting signals about "whether and when" the encounter would take place, he said, adding that the indecisiveness was probably because the country was in "pre-electoral mode."

The foreign ministers of Germany, France and Britain and EU foreign affairs chief Javier Solana have asked for the discussions with Iranian nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani in a bid to clarify recent Iranian statements threatening a resumption of uranium enrichment activities.

Such a move would be in breach of an agreement with the three EU powers clinched last November in Paris.

"Iran should be in no doubt that any such change to the suspension would be a clear breach of the Paris agreement," a letter from the three EU countries to Rowhani warned last week.

"It would bring the negotiating process to an end. The consequences beyond could only be negative for Iran," the letter added.

The last formal round of talks between Rowhani and EU foreign ministers was held in December, however expert-level informal talks were held in 29 April in London.

The EU countries have offered Iran a package of trade and cooperation incentives in return for "objective guarantees" that it will not develop nuclear weapons.

EU ministers have warned that failure of the talks would bring the issue before the UN Security Council where Iran could face further sanctions to those already imposed by the US.

Meanwhile a senior Iranian ayatollah said on Friday that no Iranian delegation has the right to make any concessions over the nuclear issue.

"The parliamentary bill (forcing the government to continue uranium enrichment) is not only a unanimous state decision but also the will of the Iranian people," Ayatollah Mohammad Kashani said at the Friday prayer ceremony in Tehran.

In a bill approved last week, the Iranian parliament forced the government to put an end to the fruitless talks with the EU trio of Britain, France and Germany and unilaterally resume the enrichment process.

Therefore no concessions could be made on the "irrevocable popular will", said Kashani, who heads the country's influential conservative clergy faction.

[Copyright DPA with Expatica 2005]

Subject: German news

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