Iran to consult EU3 before IAEA meeting

2nd March 2006, Comments 0 comments

2 March 2006, MOSCOW/VIENNA - Iran will hold last-minute talks in Vienna Friday with the EU3 countries before the UN's nuclear watchdog the IAEA delivers a potentially damning report on its nuclear programme next week, Iranian negotiator Ali Larijani said in Moscow Thursday.

2 March 2006

MOSCOW/VIENNA - Iran will hold last-minute talks in Vienna Friday with the EU3 countries before the UN's nuclear watchdog the IAEA delivers a potentially damning report on its nuclear programme next week, Iranian negotiator Ali Larijani said in Moscow Thursday.

Tehran intended to confirm at the meeting that it "wants to find a reasonable way of settling the situation," said Larijani, who was in the capital to discuss a Russian compromise proposal to jointly enrich uranium in Russia for use in Iran's nuclear power programme.

The plan is seen as a last chance for the Islamic state to avoid referral to the UN and possible economic sanctions for nuclear activities the West fears are being used to secretly develop weapons.

In Vienna IAEA General Director Mohamed ElBaradei said he welcomed the Iranian move to talk with the foreign ministers of Britain, Germany and France,

"I urge all parties to use this opportunity to create the necessary conditions to return to negotiations", ElBaradei said according to an IAEA press release.

"I call on Iran to demonstrate full transparency toward the IAEA to resolve important outstanding issues related to its nuclear programme," he added.

The IAEA chief further urged Tehran for the necessary confidence- building measures for the international community to be assured of the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.

Only by full Iranian transparency and negotiations with all concerned parties "can confidence be established regarding the nature of Iran's nuclear programme, and a durable solution be found," said. ElBaradei.

The meeting will include Iranian representatives together with the foreign ministers of the EU3 and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs.

According to the British Foreign Office in London, Iran requested the meeting despite previously ruling out further consultations with the EU3.

"We will listen to what Iran has to say but we have no new proposals," said a spokesman, according to the Itar-Tass news agency.

As the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) prepares to deliver a report on Iran on March 6, Tehran had agreed in principle to the joint uranium enrichment. But it still wants to maintain its own enrichment programme at its Natanz plant.

Uranium enriched in Russia would be designated for use at the Bushehr nuclear power plant that Russia is currently completing for Iran and in other planned power stations.

Prospects for a breakthrough in Moscow remained slim, with Larijani accusing the United States of undermining the efforts to find a compromise.

US insistence on referring Iran to the United Nations Security Council over its nuclear activities "speaks of the demolition of the Russian proposal", he told journalists on the second day of his visit.

Some progress had been made on Russia's condition that Iran suspend its enrichment activities, said Larijani, who is the head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council.

"This needs time, but this question is maturing," he added.

During a visit to Hungary this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he still held high hopes of sealing a deal with Iran and defusing the crisis.

DPA

Subject: German news

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