Iran Nuclear NewsEuropeans call off key nuclear talks with Iran

Europeans call off key nuclear talks with Iran

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Reuters: European powers have called off August 31 talks with Iran over its nuclear programme, France said on Tuesday, marking a breakdown in two years of negotiations with Tehran to halt its sensitive atomic work. French Foreign Ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei said talks on a formal European proposal made earlier this month would not now go ahead because Iran had resumed certain nuclear work in breach of a promise to freeze it while talks lasted. Reuters

By Paul Carrel

PARIS – European powers have called off August 31 talks with Iran over its nuclear programme, France said on Tuesday, marking a breakdown in two years of negotiations with Tehran to halt its sensitive atomic work.

French Foreign Ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei said talks on a formal European proposal made earlier this month would not now go ahead because Iran had resumed certain nuclear work in breach of a promise to freeze it while talks lasted.

Britain, France and Germany, acting on behalf of the European Union, put the proposal to Iran in an effort to persuade it to give up nuclear activities the West suspects may be preliminary steps towards making atomic weapons.

“There will, in fact, be no negotiations meeting on August 31 since the Iranians have decided to suspend application of the Paris Agreement,” Mattei told a regular news briefing.

“So by common accord between the three Europeans it is clear that there will be no negotiations meeting … as long as the Iranians remain outside the Paris Agreement.”

Under the Paris Agreement, agreed in November 2004, Iran voluntarily suspended all work related to atomic fuel production while negotiating a permanent deal with the EU.

Earlier this month the EU trio offered a package of economic, technical and political measures in exchange for a permanent suspension of Iranian efforts to make nuclear fuel.

Iran rejected the proposals, which also envisaged the August 31 talks, and angered the EU and the United States by resuming uranium conversion at its Isfahan plant on August 8.

Despite calling off the August 31 talks, the European powers remained in contact with Iran, Mattei said.

“That does not mean there will be no contact with the Iranians,” he said. “We have contact with the Iranians. The three European countries have embassies there.”

Iranian officials have said they will never suspend work at the Isfahan plant again and Tehran now wants to discuss resuming the most sensitive part of the nuclear fuel cycle — uranium enrichment — at its facility in Natanz.

The EU and the United States suspect Iran of secretly trying to build nuclear weapons. Iran says it wants nuclear technology only to cope with booming electricity demand, not to make nuclear bombs.

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