Iran rejects deadline at EU nuclear talks


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Iran rejects deadline at EU nuclear talks

Tue Jul 11, 2006 8:47 AM ET
By Parisa Hafezi and Mark John

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Iran's chief nuclear negotiator rebuffed Western pressure 
for an immediate answer to an offer of incentives to suspend uranium enrichment 
ahead of crucial talks with the European Union on Tuesday.

The United States, which accuses Tehran of secretly working to build nuclear 
weapons, has demanded a clear Iranian response before next weekend's summit of 
Group of Eight industrialized nations in Russia or face possible U.N. Security 
Council action.

But Ali Larijani told reporters before he met EU foreign policy chief Javier 
Solana for a second round of talks in five days: "We have expressed our view 
regarding the deadline. We are not used to acting before thinking."

Iran has said it will reply in late August to a package of technology, economic 
and political sweeteners, and an Iranian foreign ministry spokesman suggested 
its full answer would only emerge later during detailed negotiations on the 

"Iran's answer will not be given suddenly. The answers will be given during the 
negotiations," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi was quoted as saying 
by state radio, adding Tehran saw "ambiguities" in all three areas of the 

An Iranian deputy foreign minister said Iran was not considering freezing its 
uranium enrichment activities as part of a solution.

"We did it before, we did it for two and a half years. It proved that it didn't 
work," Manuchehr Mohammadi said on a visit to China. "Nothing came as the 
fruitful and useful conclusion."

Mohammadi said Iran was optimistic about what he called Western "flexibility" 
over the incentives, but warned that any resort to sanctions would be 

Diplomats say Russia and China, both veto-holders in the U.N. Security Council, 
are wary about imposing sanctions on Tehran and so acknowledge there is little 
pressure on Iran to give an early reply to the offer presented by Solana on June

Outside the talks, some 60 supporters of the exiled Iranian opposition waved 
banners urging "U.N. sanctions to stop the game of the mullahs", insisting 
Tehran was not interested in solving the dispute and was merely playing for 


Iran said on Sunday that Solana had not managed to answer all its questions on 
the package during a two-hour meeting with Larijani last Thursday.

The EU, which had described last week's talks as a good start, brushed off those
remarks and said it still wanted a "substantive response" from Larijani on 

"We will continue to discuss with Larijani, with the aim of getting from Iran 
their response to the proposals," said Solana's spokeswoman Cristina Gallach.

The talks come a day before a meeting in Paris of foreign ministers from the 
five permanent members of the Security Council -- the United States, Britain, 
France, Russia and China -- and Germany, the six powers behind the incentives 

The package includes a state-of-the-art nuclear reactor with a guaranteed fuel 
supply, economic benefits and other incentives if Iran halts uranium enrichment.

Two U.S. nuclear analysts said the offer would be more appealing to Iran if it 
included U.S.-backed assurances of no threats or use of force, and a pledge of 
quick help to restore infrastructure worn down by U.S.-driven trade 

"Iran is not prepared to relinquish (enrichment) for tenuous concessions like 
multilateral talks to which the U.S. is one party, or promises of nuclear and 
economic assistance involving long timetables and complicated conditions," said 
former U.N. arms inspector David Albright and analyst Jacqueline Shire.

Their Washington-based think tank Institute for Science and International 
Security said Iran had to be offered a way forward which "makes the decision to 
give up enrichment an appealing, logical step and not a humiliating, defeated 

Iran, the world's fourth largest oil exporter, rejects charges it seeks a 
nuclear weapon and argues it is solely interested in electricity generation.

Oil eased on Tuesday, falling again on hopes of progress toward resolving the 
nuclear stand-off. London Brent was down 20 cents to $72.69 a barrel. But 
traders said losses were limited by Tehran's reluctance to reach an accord 

(Additional reporting by Edmund Blair in Tehran)

© Reuters 2006. All rights reserved.

Escaping the Matrix website
cyberjournal website  
subscribe cyberjournal list     mailto:•••@••.•••
Posting archives      
  cyberjournal forum  
  Achieving real democracy
  for readers of ETM  
  Community Empowerment
  Blogger made easy