Germany welcomes Iran-Russia nuclear plans
26 January 2006, BERLIN - A top German official on Thursday welcomed Iran's possible willingness to set up a joint venture with Russia on uranium enrichment as a way to defuse the crisis over Tehran's nuclear programme.
26 January 2006
BERLIN - A top German official on Thursday welcomed Iran's possible willingness to set up a joint venture with Russia on uranium enrichment as a way to defuse the crisis over Tehran's nuclear programme.
"It looks as if a window of opportunity has been opened since yesterday," said Deputy German Foreign Minister Gernot Erler in a speech to parliament.
Erler was referring to comments by Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, who said Wednesday his country had a "positive" attitude to Russia's offer which is aimed at preventing Iran from setting up its own enriching facility.
Germany is part of the European Union's EU-3 group which has been negotiating with Tehran since 2003 in a bid to get Iran to limit its nuclear programme in exchange for trade and aid.
Earlier this month EU-3 foreign ministers said talks had reached a dead end and that they were referring Iran to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The IAEA will vote early next month on whether to send Iran to the U.N. Security Council where it could face the threat of sanctions.
Erler and other German government and opposition politicians stressed Berlin did not want to consider a military option regarding Iran.
Opposition Greens member Juergen Trittin underlined that Iran would be far more vulnerable to sanctions than was generally believed.
Trittin, who served as German environment and nuclear affairs minister from 1998 to 2005 under former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, noted that while Tehran was a big crude oil producer it lacked refining capacity and had to import petroleum products from abroad.
Subject: German news