France rules out resumption of negotiations with Iran

18th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 18, 2006 (AFP) - France on Wednesday joined Britain in rejecting an Iranian proposal to resume talks with Europe over its atomic programme, saying Tehran must first return to a full suspension of sensitive nuclear work.

PARIS, Jan 18, 2006 (AFP) - France on Wednesday joined Britain in rejecting an Iranian proposal to resume talks with Europe over its atomic programme, saying Tehran must first return to a full suspension of sensitive nuclear work.

"The unilateral resumption of sensitive activities announced by Iran on January 9 means it is not possible for us to meet in satisfactory conditions to pursue these talks," foreign ministry spokesman Denis Simonneau said.

"Iran must first return to a full suspension of these activities."

Britain, which along with France and Germany has been negotiating on behalf of the European Union to obtain security guarantees over Iran's nuclear programme, on Tuesday also rejected its offer to restart talks.

Simonneau "confirmed that the Iranians voiced the wish to meet again with the three European nations, notably at ministerial level, as well as with (Javier) Solana," the EU's foreign policy chief.

Iran said earlier this month it was terminating a voluntary moratorium on sensitive nuclear research, a move that prompted alarm around the world.

The so-called EU-3 have called for an emergency meeting early next month of the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency to discuss Iran's actions.

The UN nuclear watchdog could refer Iran to the Security Council, which has the power to impose sanctions, but Russia and China are resisting European and US calls for such intervention.

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy was to arrive in Moscow later Wednesday on a two-day visit expected to be dominated by the Iranian crisis.

Iran insists that it is only interested in developing a civil nuclear program, but Western powers, led by Washington, suspect Tehran of seeking to build nuclear weapons.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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