EU-Iran nuclear programmetalks end without progress

26th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

26 May 2005, GENEVA/TEHRAN - Talks between Iran and the European Union trio of Germany, France and the UK on Iran's nuclear programme ended on Wednesday without any breakthrough after tough wrangling in Geneva, but at the same time, neither side made good on its threats.

26 May 2005

GENEVA/TEHRAN - Talks between Iran and the European Union trio of Germany, France and the UK on Iran's nuclear programme ended on Wednesday without any breakthrough after tough wrangling in Geneva, but at the same time, neither side made good on its threats.

German foreign minister Joschka Fischer told reporters that the talks would be resumed at the end of July, and the European Union would be making fresh proposals - but with no major changes anticipated.

This would mean negotiating with the new government after a presidential election in Iran on 17 June, widely expected to see Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a moderate, take power.

Ahead of the talks, Iran had proclaimed that if no clear decision was made in Geneva, it would end the negotiations and resume its uranium enrichment unilaterally. The European Union had warned that if talks failed, the Iran case would be brought before the United Nations Security Council.

But in its first reaction to the Geneva meeting, Iran announced on Wednesday night that it will continue its uranium-enrichment suspension until an evaluation of the latest EU proposal.

Delegation spokesman Hussein Mussavian told the Mehr news agency that the EU proposal will be evaluated by the political leaders in Tehran and, until then, the suspension will continue.

The spokesman predicted that Tehran will make a decision within one week, and observers said they believed the decision would be a positive one.

The foreign ministers of the EU trio Britain, France and Germany were trying to persuade Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Hassan Rowhani, to permanently suspend Iran's uranium enrichment. EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana also participated.

The union is offering a comprehensive package of incentives in the form of economic, political and also atomic cooperation in return for a permanent suspension of the enrichment programme at Iran's Isfahan facility.

The EU fears that Iran could use enriched uranium to make nuclear weapons and has threatened to bring the issue before the UN Security Council, where Iran could face further sanctions to those already imposed by the United States.

The two-and-half-hour preparatory talks on Tuesday in Brussels at the expert level were supposed to prepare the ground for a fruitful meeting in Geneva, but reportedly with little success. Iran labelled the initial talks as "not hopeful", the Iranian news agency ISNA reported.

"The talks in Brussels were tough, complicated and eventually not very hopeful, and if the same trend continued in Geneva as well, then the two sides would reach a dead-end," Ali Aqamohammadi, one of the members of the Iranian nuclear delegation, told ISNA.

However, Iranian president Mohammad Khatami said on Wednesday that he was still hopeful there would be a breakthrough, adding at the same time that Iran was determined to resume the partial enrichment process.

Rowhani expressed hope that an agreement could be reached within a short time and Mussavian said a positive outcome of the Geneva meeting was that the EU trio had at least set a specific timetable upon which both delegations could now focus their future talks.

Immediately before the latest talks, about 1,000 mostly pro- government students protested the policies of the EU trio outside their embassies in Tehran, accusing them of denying Iran access to atomic technology.

In addition to the usual anti-American and anti-Israeli slogans, for the first time in years shouts of "Death to Germany" could also be heard.

DPA

Subject: German news

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