Iran Nuclear NewsEU3, Iran to Start Nuclear Talks on Monday

EU3, Iran to Start Nuclear Talks on Monday

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Reuters: Foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany and the European Union’s foreign policy chief will meet a top Iranian official in Brussels on Monday to launch talks on long-term nuclear cooperation, diplomats said. The said Hassan Rohani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, would meet Jack Straw, Michel Barnier, Joschka Fischer and Javier Solana to begin negotiations promised when …
Reuters

Foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany and the European Union’s foreign policy chief will meet a top Iranian official in Brussels on Monday to launch talks on long-term nuclear cooperation, diplomats said.

The said Hassan Rohani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, would meet Jack Straw, Michel Barnier, Joschka Fischer and Javier Solana to begin negotiations promised when Iran agreed last month to suspend uranium enrichment activities.

The talks are aimed at working out a package of economic and political incentives to persuade Iran permanently to give up work on uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing — activities that can produce atom bomb material.

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei told the Financial times in an interview: “I hope that in discussions (between Tehran and the EU3) everyone puts their cards on the table. This is not just a technical issue, it’s a security issue.

“The fundamental issue is that countries look at know-how as a deterrent. Once you get into areas of deterrence, you get into security and insecurity. If you have nuclear material, the weapon part is not far away.”

The United States accuses Tehran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons under cover of its atomic energy program. Iran denies the charge but has insisted its suspension of enrichment activities is only temporary.

“We have to be nervous when a nation such as Iran continues to take actions that at least suggest to us that it continues to be interested in a nuclear weapons program,” Secretary of State Colin Powell said on a visit to Brussels on Thursday.

Powell praised the EU3 initiative and said he hoped the negotiations would turn the temporary suspension into something more permanent, but he added that Iran continued to act in a way that aroused suspicions about its nuclear intentions.

The agreement with the EU3 enabled Iran to avoid being sent to the U.N. Security Council for concealing its past nuclear efforts when the International Atomic Energy Agency board met in Vienna last month.

A Western diplomat in Vienna close to the talks said the Iranians would be bringing a “huge shopping list” including telecommunications, railways and financing.

Western diplomats say the Iranians want to conclude the talks within months whereas the Europeans envision them taking years.

The 25-nation EU is expected to formally agree on Monday to resume stalled talks with Iran on a trade and cooperation agreement, which would include European support for its membership of the World Trade Organization and loans by international financial institutions.

The United States has blocked Iran’s WTO bid and international loans to punish Tehran for its nuclear program and support for militant groups hostile to Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.

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