Iran faces tough talks with EU big three
5 November 2004, TEHERAN - The third round of nuclear talks with Iran and the European Union trio of Britain, France and Germany will be "tough and complicated", an Iranian spokesman said Friday. "We have tough and complicated talks ahead of us in Paris with the theoretical phase over and the practical one starting," Hussein Mussavian, spokesman and head of the Iranian delegation told the news agency IRNA in Paris. The so-called EU big three have asked Iran to suspend uranium enrichment until Iran's contro
5 November 2004
TEHERAN - The third round of nuclear talks with Iran and the European Union trio of Britain, France and Germany will be "tough and complicated", an Iranian spokesman said Friday.
"We have tough and complicated talks ahead of us in Paris with the theoretical phase over and the practical one starting," Hussein Mussavian, spokesman and head of the Iranian delegation told the news agency IRNA in Paris.
The so-called EU big three have asked Iran to suspend uranium enrichment until Iran's controversial case is settled in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Iran however has agreed only to suspend it for a limited timeframe as a trust-building measure but expects the EU to acknowledge Iran's right to peaceful nuclear technology, including uranium enrichment.
If the talks fail the EU would join the United States in calling for Iran's nuclear case to be put before the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions.
Iran terms the threat as futile saying the country is not only a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, but also signed the IAEA additional protocol and fully cooperated with IAEA inspectors. Therefore, Teheran says, there are no legal grounds to impose sanctions.
EU leaders vowed Friday to stick with diplomatic efforts to defuse a crisis over Iran's nuclear programme with what Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot termed both "carrots and sticks".
The 25 European Union leaders, meeting in Brussels, said they were continuing talks with Iran, led by the big three, to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue before the 25 November meeting of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Bot said the EU was dangling a carrot to Teheran in the form of a long-term relationship including commercial ties and technical aid.
Asked what the stick was, Bot said if Iran failed to come clean on its nuclear programme the EU would back the IAEA going to the UN Security Council which could lead to international sanctions on Teheran.
The US fears that Iran's nuclear programme is aimed at producing nuclear weapons. This, however, is strongly denied by Teheran.
But as a mark of the tensions ahead of the talks in Paris, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Friday the nuclear dispute is turning into a symbol of United States' political hostility towards Iran.
"The US was hoping for a swift collapse of Irans Islamic system, but must now face the fact that even after 25 years, the system is not only still ruling united over an independent country, but also making scientific progress," Khamenei told worshippers at Friday prayers in Teheran.
Khamenei refrained from comment on Friday's third round of nuclear talks being held in Paris between Iran and the European Union, in which the France, Britain and Germany have been trying to persuade Iran to ditch its uranium enrichment programme.
Khamenei told worshippers that not just Islam forbade the use of nuclear weapons, but also all relevant bodies confirmed the peaceful nature of Irans nuclear projects.
"Therefore the current ballyhoo is just a tool by the US to get international support for continuing political pressure against Iran," he said.
He accused the US of desperately trying to hinder Irans scientific progress and make it dependent on American industry.
Our nation is not after the atomic bomb simply as our nation itself is the atomic bomb," said Khamenei, who is the successor of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and has constitutionally the final say on all state affairs.
Subject: German news