Reuters: European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said his talks on Saturday with Iran’s nuclear chief were constructive and he hoped for another round in three weeks. By Parisa Hafezi and Henrique Almeida
LISBON (Reuters) – European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said his talks on Saturday with Iran’s nuclear chief were constructive and he hoped for another round in three weeks.
“It has been a constructive meeting … I have to tell you that probably in three weeks we will try to see if we can meet again,” Solana told reporters after four hours of discussions with Iranian negotiator Ali Larijani in Lisbon.
The United States, Britain, Russia, France, Germany and China are discussing a third set of U.N. sanctions against Iran over concerns it is covertly trying to build nuclear weapons.
Iran, OPEC’s second-largest oil exporter, says it needs nuclear power to generate electricity to be able to export more of its valuable oil and gas.
Increasing the pressure on Tehran, a British draft of a new U.N. sanctions resolution proposed that Iran’s airlines and ships could be denied landing and transit rights and two or more of its banks could have their assets frozen.
Larijani said Iran wanted to settle its nuclear dispute with the West through diplomacy, adding that his meeting with Solana was good.
Asked whether a new U.N. sanctions resolution could end his talks with Solana, Larijani said: “If some adventure-seeking countries want to interrupt the process of diplomacy, this may have some effects.”
“I think for the big powers the prevalence of tranquillity would be more important.”
The U.N. Security Council has imposed two rounds of sanctions on Iran, in December and March, after Tehran’s failure to heed a U.N. demand to halt uranium enrichment.
Since February, Iran has rapidly expanded a centrifuge operation at its underground Natanz enrichment facility in a bid for “industrial-scale” fuel production.
The Islamic Republic says its nuclear programme has passed the point of no return and wants its nuclear case to be returned to the Vienna-based IAEA, which would end U.N. sanctions pressure — a nonstarter for Western powers.
After a two-hour meeting in Vienna on Friday, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei said he and Larijani had agreed to draw up a “plan of action” within two months on how to remove outstanding concerns about Iran’s disputed nuclear work.
The last Larijani-Solana meeting in Madrid in May could not resolve the enrichment dispute and the latest exploratory talks were not expected to make much headway.
Solana said he hoped the talks would go on. “I hope very much that there will be the possibility for us to continue our negotiations,” he said.