EU states to discuss Iran nuclear plans in Paris

29th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

29 August 2005, BRUSSELS - Senior European Union officials meet in Paris this week to discuss Iran's nuclear plans after a summer of increasing diplomatic tensions with Tehran.

29 August 2005

BRUSSELS - Senior European Union officials meet in Paris this week to discuss Iran's nuclear plans after a summer of increasing diplomatic tensions with Tehran.

E.U. diplomats said the talks would be held in Paris on August 31, with political directors from Germany, France and Britain - the so- called 'E.U. Three' which have been trying to defuse the nuclear crisis with Iran - expected to brief the other 22 E.U. members on the state of play with Tehran.

The discussions replace a meeting between Iran and the E.U. Three which was cancelled by the E.U. trio after Iran refused to stop the resumption of nuclear activities in the Isfahan conversion plant in central Iran.

The E.U. says Iran's action is in breach of a November 2004 agreement which commits Tehran to suspending the production of nuclear fuel while negotiations continue on a permanent agreement.

However, Iran has repeatedly claimed that it has the right to pursue a civilian nuclear programme.

E.U. diplomats say the bloc will wait for a report on the latest nuclear developments in Iran by the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) before taking any decisions on how to proceed. The IAEA report is expected to be issued on September 3.

Iran stepped up its anti-European rhetoric over the weekend, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Assefi saying Tehran was only accountable to the IAEA.

Assefi said the E.U. Three were "excluding themselves" from the negotiations with unsuitable rhetoric and constant threats to cut off talks.

Earlier, Iran's newly-appointed chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani said he believed China, Russia and South Africa were possible alternatives to the E.U. trio which have been trying to defuse the nuclear crisis with Iran since October 2003.

However, diplomats in Brussels said they were not too worried by such tough-talking by Iranian negotiators and believed Tehran was still open to talks with the E.U.

"We are not commenting on all statements coming out of Iran," said one E.U. diplomat.

Germany, France and Britain have been trying to convince Tehran to stop all nuclear activities that could lead to the construction of a nuclear bomb.

But earlier this month, Iran rejected a wide-ranging package of economic, technological and political incentives in exchange for the permanent suspension of its nuclear fuel production programme.

It subsequently resumed uranium conversion at its Isfahan nuclear plant.

DPA

Subject: German news

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