Iran Nuclear NewsIran signals refusal of nuclear freeze-EU diplomat

Iran signals refusal of nuclear freeze-EU diplomat

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Reuters: Iran has indicated to European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana it will not freeze its most sensitive nuclear work and major powers will consult later this week on sanctions, a European diplomat said on Wednesday. BRUSSELS, Oct 4 (Reuters) – Iran has indicated to European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana it will not freeze its most sensitive nuclear work and major powers will consult later this week on sanctions, a European diplomat said on Wednesday.

Solana has been trying to coax Iran into halting uranium enrichment, which the West suspects is aimed at developing an atomic bomb, to avert possible U.N. sanctions.

“It’s clear that’s the situation. They cannot accept suspension,” a European diplomat familiar with Solana’s talks with chief Iranian negotiator Ali Larijani said.

The diplomat said foreign ministers of the major powers were likely to meet in London on Friday or Saturday to assess the outcome after four months of talks and decide on seeking gradual sanctions, targeted on Iran’s nuclear programme.

Solana spoke by telephone to Larijani on Monday and told journalists afterwards the conversation was constructive but had not broken the impasse.

The diplomat said no further contact was planned with Larijani before ministers of the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany meet Solana, although it was not ruled out and lower-level contacts were continuing.

The diplomat said Solana would tell the European Parliament foreign affairs committee on Wednesday that while Iran had moved on some aspects of the conditions for negotiations, it had not moved on “the most critical ones”.

Solana delivered a package of economic, political and technological incentives to Iran in June, conditional on it suspending uranium enrichment and related activities.

Tehran responded with a counter-proposal in August and ignored an Aug. 31 deadline set by the U.N. Security Council to halt enrichment or face possible sanctions.

Foreign ministers of the major powers met at the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 19 and set an unannounced deadline of the end of this week for Solana to get a clear answer from Tehran.

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