CNN: British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and his counterparts from France and Germany will meet an Iranian delegation next week to try to break the impasse over Tehran’s nuclear program, Straw said Tuesday. “I hope, but I can’t predict, that the negotiations at the beginning of next week will be fruitful,” Straw told reporters at a joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. CNN
WASHINGTON – British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and his counterparts from France and Germany will meet an Iranian delegation next week to try to break the impasse over Tehran’s nuclear program, Straw said Tuesday.
“I hope, but I can’t predict, that the negotiations at the beginning of next week will be fruitful,” Straw told reporters at a joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
“I would hope that the Iranians understand that this is their chance,” Rice said.
“They ought to take it and get back on the good side of the international community.”
Straw said the talks would most likely take place in Paris, France and would include German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier and a delegation from Iran.
Earlier, Tehran announced it would send Hassan Rowhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, to the May 23 talks.
Rice said the United States supporteds the “EU-3” negotiations and that all sides had come to a united approach in dealing with Tehran.
She said she hoped Iran would seize the moment and “live up to their international obligations not to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of civilian nuclear power.”
“I think we will see what comes next,” Rice said. “We’ve obviously got the (United Nations) Security Council as an option for the international community. We’ve made that clear.”
Straw said he hoped an agreement couldn be reached before that occurs: “The whole purpose of the negotiations with Iran is to try and avoid that circumstance.”
Asked what Britain would do if the United States pushed for the Iran matter to go before the U.N. Security Council, Straw said, “Your circumstance is entirely hypothetical, and I’m quite clear it won’t arise.”
In Tehran, the country’s state-run media quoted Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi as saying, “We agreed to hold this round of talks because the Europeans themselves had requested.”
“We hope to reach a formula which will guarantee our rights,” he said.
Kharrazi added that Iran would pursue what it saw as its right to obtain atomic technology — which it insists is for peaceful purposes — and would restart its temporarily frozen plutonium enrichment program if this round of talks failed to produce an agreement.
Europe and the United States fear Iran’s nuclear programs will result in nuclear weapons and want Tehran to permanently stop the enrichment programs that can create weapons grade plutonium.
Britain, France and Germany — representing the European Union — began talks with Tehran two years ago, and Iran agreed last year to freeze its enrichment activities.
The United States refuses to participate, but has not objected to the European talks.