NewsSpecial WireIran’s “new initiative” for nuclear talks sets tougher tone

Iran’s “new initiative” for nuclear talks sets tougher tone

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Iran Focus: Vienna, Aug. 26 – Iran’s new chief nuclear negotiator is due to hold talks with the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) here on Friday as the political tug-of-war continues over the Islamic Republic’s suspected nuclear weapons program. Iran Focus

Vienna, Aug. 26 – Iran’s new chief nuclear negotiator is due to hold talks with the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) here on Friday as the political tug-of-war continues over the Islamic Republic’s suspected nuclear weapons program.

In his first trip abroad as the recently-appointed secretary general of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Larijani is expected to deliver a tough message to IAEA Chief Mohamed ElBaradei, insisting on Tehran’s demand to go ahead with its nuclear fuel cycle activity, a process that could lead to the radical Islamic regime eventually obtaining the A-bomb.

A senior Iranian official told journalists in Tehran on the eve of the talks in Vienna that Iran’s message to ElBaradei will be “clear”.

“We will not forgo our national interests”, he said. Iranian officials have said that the nuclear fuel cycle is “the red line” in their talks with the Europeans. They have also made it clear that the resumed activities in Iran’s uranium conversion facility in Isfahan will not be negotiable.

Larijani set the tone before leaving Tehran, when he told the state-run television that Iran would seek to “broaden” the nuclear talks and negotiate with all the 35 member-states of the IAEA Board of Governors, instead of just talking to the three European nations representing the European Union – Britain, France, and Germany.

“Even before this, there were serious problems with the structure and the context of Iran’s nuclear talks with the Europeans”, Larijani said. “Iran was being told by many of the IAEA member-states, as well as several European governments, that on what basis or in what framework have these three European countries been selected to represent the IAEA or the European [Union”> in nuclear talks with Iran?”

He said the legitimacy of the EU-3 representing the international community was also questioned by many member-states of the Non-aligned Movement.

“Inside Iran, too, the public opinion and the elite saw many serious faults with these talks. On what basis or logic have Iran’s nuclear talks been limited to, and conditional upon, the three European governments?” Larijani added.

The Persian-language website Baztab, which has links to Iran’s military and security circles, said Larijani’s position “was the outline of the new initiative that President Ahmadinejad first raised in his telephone conversation with [United Nations Secretary General”> Kofi Annan”. The website added that “[U.S. President”> George Bush welcomed Ahmadinejad’s initiative”.

Informed sources in Vienna said Larijani is expected to propose to the IAEA the possibility of continuing its inspections in Iran, an offer few experts in the West see as a serious concession.

The European side has expressed a willingness to resume negotiations with Tehran, but only if the hard-line government would stop the nuclear activities at its Uranium Conversion Facility in Isfahan, central Iran.

Tehran resumed uranium conversion activity at its Isfahan plant in breach of the Paris Agreement, which it signed with the EU-3 in November 2004.

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