Iranian nuclear talks to continue as planned

19th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

19 May 2005, TEHRAN/BRUSSELS - Iranian President Mohammad Khatami and European Union diplomats on Thursday said talks planned between the German, French and British foreign ministers and Iran's nuclear negotiator for 24 May on the Iranian nuclear programme would proceed as planned.

19 May 2005

TEHRAN/BRUSSELS - Iranian President Mohammad Khatami and European Union diplomats on Thursday said talks planned between the German, French and British foreign ministers and Iran's nuclear negotiator for 24 May on the Iranian nuclear programme would proceed as planned.

"We have no intention to cut talks with the EU and will still try to find a suitable bilateral settlement but expect ... our European friends not to give in to any political pressure," Khatami said in remarks reported by Khabar news network.

The foreign ministers of Germany, France and Britain and EU foreign affairs chief Javier Solana are scheduled to meet with Iran's top nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani, most likely in Brussels.

The discussions follow rising European concern at recent Iranian statements indicating Tehran plans to resume key nuclear activities, in breach of an agreement with the three EU powers clinched last November in Paris.

British foreign secretary Jack Straw warned in Washington recently that Iran's referral to the United Nations Security Council remained "an option" if Tehran went back on its earlier commitment to suspend uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities.

Straw's comments followed a letter by the Europeans to Rowhani on 11 May warning against breaking the Paris deal.

"Iran should be in no doubt that any such change to the suspension would be a clear breach of the Paris agreement," the letter warned Tehran.

"It would bring the negotiating process to an end. The consequences beyond could only be negative for Iran," it added.

Akbar-Hashemi Rafsanjani, the candidate most likely to succeed Khatami in upcoming elections, told students at Azad university in Tehran that the dispute should be settled "with patience and logic".

The last formal round of talks with foreign ministers was held in December, however informal talks below ministerial level were held on 29 April.

Preparatory talks have been "extremely difficult", nuclear delegation spokesman Hussein Mussavian said. He would not rule out a cancellation if no agreement was reached.

The EU countries have offered Iran a package of trade and cooperation incentives in return for "objective guarantees" that it will not develop nuclear weapons.

Such a pact would mean that Iran would dismantle its nuclear fuel facilities in exchange for increased European trade and cooperation.

Failure of the talks would catapult the issue to the UN Security Council where Iran could face further sanctions in addition to those already imposed by the US.

DPA

Subject: German news

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