Reuters: Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator said he held talks with Swiss officials on Tuesday concerning the dispute over Iran’s nuclear plans but said an earlier Swiss idea to end the standoff needed amending. TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator said he held talks with Swiss officials on Tuesday concerning the dispute over Iran’s nuclear plans but said an earlier Swiss idea to end the standoff needed amending.
Diplomats have said Switzerland previously proposed a staged plan leading to a simultaneous suspension of Iran’s uranium enrichment work and of U.N. sanctions, which would enable talks between Iran and six world powers to begin.
The United Nations has slapped two rounds of sanctions on Iran since December for failing to halt enrichment, a process the West fears Iran is seeking to master in order to build atomic bombs. Tehran denies the charge.
“The Swiss proposal, because people had the wrong impression about it, cannot be the basis (for a deal) but this plan can be amended,” Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, was quoted as saying by IRNA news agency.
He did not say how the proposal should be changed but Iranian officials, including Larijani, have repeatedly ruled out suspending the country’s atomic work, which they insist is only aimed at making fuel for Iran’s planned nuclear power plants.
“New negotiations took place with them (the Swiss) because they were interested in becoming active on this issue,” he said on return from a trip to Switzerland and Germany, where he held talks with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
He did not give further details of the discussions with Swiss officials or comment on his talks in Germany.
“They (the Swiss) can be active in the framework that we and (EU foreign policy chief Javier) Solana follow and they should adjust themselves to the current situation of discussions,” Larijani added.
Larijani held talks with Solana, who is acting on behalf of world powers, in Spain last month. As with previous rounds of talks, no breakthrough was achieved but the two agreed to meet again in June.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly ruled out any retreat on the nuclear programme, including the idea of a “double suspension”, under which Tehran would halt uranium enrichment in return for a lifting of sanctions.
Larijani said Iran was giving the International Atomic Energy Agency access to the country’s nuclear facilities within international regulations. The IAEA says there are still questions Iran needs to answer about its atomic work.