Bookmark and Share

UK confirms talks with Iran on nuclear dispute


The British Foreign Office was unable to confirm Friday that Foreign Secretary Jack Straw would join his French and German counterparts in travelling to Tehran next week to negotiate a solution to the dispute over Iran's nuclear programme, IRNA reported from London.

A Foreign Office spokesman told IRNA that there were "no firm plans" for Straw to go to Iran, but he confirmed that a British delegation was in Tehran this week for talks with Iranian officials. "British official would have raised the normal range of topics," the spokesman said, when asked whether the talks included the nuclear issue.

The Financial Times Friday reported that the UK was part of a European delegation discussing the prospect of sharing fuel and technology with Iran to alleviate international concern over Iran's nuclear programme.

The delegation was said to include officials from France and Germany with the seeming prospects that the foreign ministers of the three European countries would visit Tehran if the technical discussions showed progress.

In an interview with the BBC in Tehran, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohammad El-Baradei said that he was aware there were discussions between Iran and some of the European countries to try to "defuse the security concern."

"Iran might get assurance of supply, might get nuclear technology for electricity generation, without however having to do the fuel cycle itself and rather rely on very iron-clad guarantees," he said about the discussions.

El-Baradei said he hoped that such settlement will be possible in the future and that it could lead to "new chapter in the relationship between Iran and the West, particularly Europe."

"I think it would be a win-win situation. Iran will get the energy needs they have, however without raising an anxiety about any sensitive fuel cycle activities," he said.

© Copyright 2003 (All Rights Reserved)