Iran Nuclear NewsWorld powers meet on Iran nuclear programme

World powers meet on Iran nuclear programme

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AFP: Representatives of the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany were to meet Saturday to discuss Iran’s contested nuclear programme after last-ditch talks failed to produce a breakthrough. PARIS (AFP) — Representatives of the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany were to meet Saturday to discuss Iran’s contested nuclear programme after last-ditch talks failed to produce a breakthrough.

The European Union’s foreign policy chief Javier Solana said he was “disappointed” after the talks in London on Friday with Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, hours before a deadline for him to report back to world powers on the issue.

“I have to admit that after five hours of meetings I expected more, and therefore I am disappointed,” Solana told reporters.

The talks were seen as a last chance for Tehran before a possible new round of sanctions, though hopes of a breakthrough had been slim.

Solana’s advisor was to brief the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany — the six powers involved in the dossier — whose representatives were scheduled to meet in Paris on Saturday.

Western nations suspect Iran is using its nuclear programme to covertly develop a nuclear bomb. Despite Iranian denials, the United States and its allies are pressing for stronger UN sanctions against Tehran, a move resisted by China and Russia.

Jalili said Saturday that Iran was not to blame for any disappointment at the London meeting.

“The fact is that we defended the Iranian nation’s rights and stressed fulfilling our duties and that the Iranian nation will not accept anything that goes beyond the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,” he said.

“If some people have become disappointed because they cannot deprive Iran of its natural rights then this is another matter,” Jalili told reporters after arriving back in Tehran.

Tehran had promised to bring “new ideas” to the table for the London talks but Solana’s spokeswoman Cristina Gallach said Friday: “There was not enough new in order not to be disappointed.”

Jalili said the Iranian side had put forward three “good ideas” to the Europeans in the talks, including “joint cooperation for disarmament”, the “peaceful use of nuclear energy” and the “prevention of the expansion of nuclear defence proliferation”.

The proposals appeared to be in line with past calls by Tehran on the West to destroy their own nuclear arsenals to help forge a breakthrough in the nuclear crisis.

Solana and Jalili said they agreed to talk by phone in December, and may meet in person as well.

Normally optimistic, Solana has appeared increasingly frustrated in recent weeks, as time has slipped away for him to make his evaluation to the UN Security Council by a November 30 deadline.

Critics say Tehran has played off the five permanent Security Council members plus Germany, counting on China and Russia to block further sanctions demanded by the United States.

US critics say Iran is continuing a long-standing strategy of diplomatic brinksmanship, offering last-minute compromises to delay further sanctions while pressing ahead with its nuclear plans.

Tehran is already under two sets of UN sanctions, as well as unilateral US sanctions, for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment.

The UN nuclear watchdog, in its latest report last month, said Iran was cooperating but also pressing ahead with uranium enrichment work.

International Atomic Energy Agency director general Mohamed ElBaradei has said the body is still unable to confirm that Iran’s nuclear programme is peaceful.

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