EU-3 studying Iran offer to reopen nuclear talks

7th November 2005, Comments 0 comments

7 November 2005, BRUSSELS - European Union foreign ministers Monday said they were still studying new Iranian proposals for reopening nuclear talks but said negotiations would only begin if Tehran halted all nuclear fuel cycle activities.

7 November 2005

BRUSSELS - European Union foreign ministers Monday said they were still studying new Iranian proposals for reopening nuclear talks but said negotiations would only begin if Tehran halted all nuclear fuel cycle activities.

A statement to be issued by E.U. ministers later Monday made no direct reference to the Iranian offer to reopen nuclear negotiations with Europe made over the weekend.

But a draft of the declaration urged Iran to reinstate "a full suspension of all fuel cycle activities, thus allowing negotiations with the European side to resume".

"We are analyzing the (Iranian) letter and we will see what is new," E.U.foreign and security policy chief Javier Solana told reporters at a meeting of E.U. foreign ministers in Brussels.

"We will respond. We don't want to go any further at this point," Solana insisted.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who is chairing the E.U. talks, said Germany, France and Britain - the E.U. trio seeking to negotiate a permanent end to Iran's nuclear activities - would be sending a "formal reply" to Tehran after taking a close and careful look at the Iranian offer.

Europeans have been trying for several months to persuade Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions in return for trade and aid incentives, including the negotiation of a first-ever trade pact between the two sides.

But contacts were suspended after Iran resumed uranium conversion at the Isfahan plant this summer.

Iran on Sunday called for a revival of nuclear talks with European governments and said it would allow IAEA inspectors to re-examine a military facility in Parchin near Tehran.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki said Monday that Iran was not willing to let nuclear talks with the E.U. collapse, state news agency IRNA reported.

"We consider negotiations as a suitable basis for the nuclear issue and are committed to the bilateral agreements," Mottaki said in a conference in Tehran on Central Asia and Caucasia.

Mottaki, however, stressed that Iran would not give in on its right to pursue nuclear technology which he said is manifested in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The minister hoped that also the E.U. had the same standpoint and would not violate bilateral agreements so far made.

The E.U. statement, however, steered clear of responding to the Iranian offer. Instead, E.U. ministers called for political and economic reform in Iran and voiced "deep concern at the serious violations of human rights which continue to occur in Iran."

Ministers also reiterated the E.U.'s condemnation of a recent statement by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calling for Israel to be "wiped off the map".

Iran's controversial nuclear programme is scheduled to be discussed at a November 24 IAEA board meeting in Vienna where the referral of the Iran case to the United Nations Security Council is expected to top the agenda.

DPA

Subject: German news

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