Iran Nuclear NewsIran to attend Munich meeting, new focus on atomic...

Iran to attend Munich meeting, new focus on atomic row

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ImageReuters: Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki will attend Germany's Munich Security Conference which starts on Friday, the organisers said, putting the Islamic Republic's disputed nuclear programme centre stage. ImageBERLIN (Reuters) – Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki will attend Germany's Munich Security Conference which starts on Friday, the organisers said, putting the Islamic Republic's disputed nuclear programme centre stage.

At the three-day annual event, top world politicians and diplomats will discuss security issues in the Middle East and elsewhere in a series of speeches and panel discussions, and some will hold informal talks with each other.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will give the opening speech on Friday afternoon. A permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, China is a major player in the dispute with Iran over its nuclear activities.

A conference spokeswoman said it had been confirmed that Mottaki would take part but she gave no details of when he might speak. An earlier programme had not mentioned Mottaki.

Senior Iranian officials have attended the conference in the past and sometimes held bilateral meetings with European officials.

A spokesman for Germany's foreign office said he could not exclude the possibility that Mottaki would meet Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle or other senior officials, but that there had been no decision yet.

Iran is facing a possible fourth round of U.N. Security Council sanctions over its uranium enrichment work which Western nations believe is designed to develop a nuclear bomb.

Tehran denies this and says its atomic programme is only for civilian purposes.

Westerwelle said on Friday Iran had been using delaying tactics instead of taking action to resolve the dispute over its nuclear programme.

"For the past two years Iran has repeatedly bluffed and played tricks," Westerwelle told Deutschlandfunk radio. "It has played for time and of course we in the international community cannot accept a nuclear-armed Iran."

China is more reluctant than other powers to further penalise Iran and Yang said on Thursday discussing broader sanctions against Iran was counter-productive.

Other conference attendees include Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and U.S. national security adviser James Jones are among other top officials due to take part.

(Reporting by Madeline Chambers; editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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