AFP: Iran’s former top nuclear negotiator has shelved a planned meeting with the EU foreign policy chief just a day before it was due to take place, the ISNA news agency reported on Wednesday. TEHRAN, Sept 19, 2007 (AFP) – Iran’s former top nuclear negotiator has shelved a planned meeting with the EU foreign policy chief just a day before it was due to take place, the ISNA news agency reported on Wednesday.
Hassan Rowhani, a moderate cleric who led the negotiating team that served under reformist president Mohammad Khatami, had been scheduled to meet Javier Solana in Brussels on Thursday.
Rowhani, who now heads a strategic think-tank, arrived in Germany on Tuesday for talks with an advisor to Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier.
ISNA, quoting an official statement, said that Rowhani and Solana spoke by telephone and “both sides agreed to hold their meeting at another time.”
“Therefore, Dr Rowhani, who was supposed to participate in a conference in Brussels has postponed his trip for another time. He will meet with the German foreign minister (in Berlin) and then return to Tehran.”
No reason was given for the cancellation of the meeting.
The administration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had earlier emphasised Rowhani’s trip had no connection with the government and would not change its policy on the nucleear issue.
“This trip has no connection with the governent and cannot deviate the government from its correct path which is based on the will of the people,” said government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham.
“People are free to travel any time they like… The freedom of coming and going has no effect on Iran’s nuclear case,” he added.
The announcement came after it emerged that Iran’s current top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani had spoken with Solana on Tuesday by telephone on continuing their face-to-face talks on Iran’s nuclear standoff with the West.
“They talked about an appropriate time to hold discussions and the final time will be determined at the beginning of October,” an official source told the official IRNA news agency.
The two men have held several rounds of talks in a bid to break the deadlock on Iran’s nuclear programme, most recently in April in Ankara and Madrid in May, but have failed to reach any breakthrough.
Larijani replaced Rowhani when Ahmadinejad became president in 2005. Iran then reversed a suspension of uranium enrichment that Rowhani’s team had agreed with the European Union.