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Envoys Rebuff Europeans on Iran's Nuclear Program

Shahran Tabari, Radio Farda Newsroom, London

The talks in Paris between officials of France, Britain and Germany and Iranian envoys produced no substantial result. The envoys' rebuff of Europeans' demands in Paris talks was backed in Tehran by statements from the foreign ministry and former president Hashemi-Rafsanjani, who said Iran has backed out of a promise not to construct centrifuge equipment.

August 1, 2004 - The representatives from the Islamic Republic rebuffed French, British and German envoys in two-day closed-door talks held in Paris on Thursday and Friday. The talks produced "no substantial progress," EU diplomats said on Sunday.

"Each side repeated their positions, and there were no changes," Agence France Presse quoted an unnamed European diplomat. "We would like Iran to stop nuclear fuel cycle work, but Iran sees its suspension as just a temporary measure. Therefore, no substantial progress was made," AFP's source said.

US and Israeli officials have accused the Islamic government of hiding a weapons program under the guise of a civilian project to produce electricity.

The talks in Paris prepare the ground for a September meeting of the board of governors of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency, which is expected to discuss Iran's program.

"Iran will not relinquish its right to the peaceful use of nuclear technology under any conditions," former president Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani told German ambassador to Tehran Baron Paul von Maltzahn. Rafsanjani urged Europe to back Iran's civilian nuclear program.

Iran was continuing to talk to Britain, France and Germany on the use of nuclear energy, foreign ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said on Sunday. He said despite the resumption of centrifuge construction, the Islamic government will remain committed to its suspension of uranium enrichment.

"Since the Europeans did not fulfill their promises to end IAEA inspections by closing Iran's case, Iran felt no obligation to abide by an agreement that demanded Iran suspend manufacturing and assembling centrifuges used in nuclear activities," Asefi added.

... Payvand News - 8/2/04 ... --

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