Iran's Rafsanjani calls on EU to drop threat ahead of nuclear talks
The nuclear negotiations between Iran and the EU broke off after Iran restarted uranium conversion activities


Posted Wednesday, December 21, 2005

  
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Iran's Expediency Council Chairman and former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani urged the European Union (EU) on Tuesday to drop threats on the eve of the resumption of nuclear talks between the two sides.

"Threats and unilateralism will be futile and rather make the situation more difficult for negotiators of both sides," Rafsanjani was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying during a meeting with Dutch Ambassador to Tehran Henry de Vries.

"The correct procedure is to continue nuclear talks with patience with the aim of confidence building," he added.

Rafsanjani made the comments one day before Iranian and European negotiators would resume nuclear talks in Vienna, Austria.

Meanwhile, IRNA quoted a western diplomat as saying that the two sides would talk about talks on Wednesday to decide whether to hold substantial negotiations in January 2006.

"Due to what has happened in the past several months, Iranian and European negotiators will assess each other's approach," the diplomat said.

The EU leaders warned last Saturday that time was running out for a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear dispute.

The nuclear negotiations between Iran and the EU broke off after Iran restarted uranium conversion activities, a precursor to enrichment, in early August in what the EU said breach of the agreement to suspend all enrichment-related activities.

The EU is expected to persuade Iran to accept a compromise proposal, which allows Iran to conduct uranium conversion on condition that the uranium enrichment be moved to Russia in a bid to prevent Iran from making atom bombs.

However, Tehran refused to give up right to enrich uranium on its own territory.

Enriched uranium can fuel nuclear power plant or be used to make atom bombs.

Iran's Atomic Energy Organization chief Gholamreza Aqazadeh said Monday that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's proposal to allow foreign participation in uranium enrichment was an extraordinary guarantee that Iran would not use the technology to make nuclear weapons.


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