Iran Nuclear NewsEU diplomats fear collapse of nuclear talks with Iran

EU diplomats fear collapse of nuclear talks with Iran

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Financial Times: Iran could bring negotiations with the European Union to a sudden end by resuming parts of its nuclear programme as soon as next week, European diplomats have warned. EU officials are working on the final details of an offer to assist Tehran in the nuclear, economic and diplomatic fields, as long as it turns its back on technologies that could be used for nuclear weapons. Financial Times

By Daniel Dombey in Brussels, Gareth Smyth in Tehran and Guy Dinmore in Washington

Iran could bring negotiations with the European Union to a sudden end by resuming parts of its nuclear programme as soon as next week, European diplomats have warned.

EU officials are working on the final details of an offer to assist Tehran in the nuclear, economic and diplomatic fields, as long as it turns its back on technologies that could be used for nuclear weapons. But recent Iranian statements have stoked European fears that Tehran could be about to resume activity at its uranium conversion plant, with a preliminary role in the nuclear fuel cycle.

Mohammad Khatami, Iran’s outgoing president, said this week that Iran would “definitely” resume work at this Isfahan plant regardless of what France, Germany and the UK, which are leading the EU effort, put on the table.

“Such a step would be a breach of the Paris agreement [underpinning the talks”> but until any action is taken, there will be no further comment,” said a British spokeswoman.

In such circumstances the EU would not put forward its offer, which it plans to make soon after Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, a conservative fundamentalist, is inaugurated as the new president on Thursday.

However, Iran recently set Monday as a deadline for the EU proposals. Buoyed by Mr Ahmadi-Nejad’s landslide election victory, opponents of Iran’s freeze of uranium enrichment have also noted the US’s recent agreement to supply nuclear technology to India, which developed nuclear weapons outside the Nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

There is widespread expectation that Ali Larijani, former head of state broadcasting, will take over as Iran’s leading nuclear negotiator. Mr Larijani once said Iran would exchange “a pearl for a candy” if it gave up its nuclear programme in return for trade concessions.

The European offer is intended to pave the way for the transformation of relations between Iran and the west.

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