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EU says Iran-Russia nuclear agreement compatible with European approach

Brussels, Feb 28, IRNA -- The European Union Monday appeared to support the nuclear agreement signed by Iran and Russia on Sunday.

"The deal between Russia and Iran is compatible with our own approach," European Commission spokesperson for external relations, Emma Udwin, told reporters in Brussels Monday afternoon.

"We believe very firmly that it is important for all sides to avoid Iran becoming a militarily nuclear state. We as the EU have never contested Iran's right to develop civilian nuclear power," she said.

Emma noted that both sides have made it clear that they would fully respect international rules and regulations on non-proliferation nd most importantly that Bushehr will operate under the close supervision of the IAEA.

She said the EU has been in touch with the Russians who have confirmed that the agreement is fully in line with EU policy.

"We are waiting the official comment from the IAEA Board of Governors to say themselves that they agency is happy with what has been agreed between Russia and Iran."

Asked if the Iran-Russia agreement would effect the ongoing EU-Iran nuclear negotiations, the spokesperson replied:

"In terms of talks we are continuing these discussions I don't see any direct link. The European negotiators are pursuing these discussion and we still hope that we will reach a positive agreement."

Schroeder sees "greater prospects" for settling Iran nuclear row

Berlin, Feb 28, IRNA -- German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said there are "greater prospects" for resolving the dispute over Iran's nuclear program.

Speaking with Monday's edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, the German leader said, "Prospects for reaching our goal through way of negotiation have become greater in recent days and weeks."

Pointing to last week's talks with US President George W. Bush on Iran's nuclear program, Schroeder added he was "delighted" to hear that America also backed Europe's diplomatic Iran initiative.

Schroeder reiterated that there was "no alternative" to nuclear negotiations with Tehran.

He urged "political and economic offers" for Iran such as the country's membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The official ruled out once again German support for a US military option in Iran.

"We are at the beginning of negotiations and threatening gestures don't help," stressed Schroeder, hinting at Washington's anti-Iran military rhetoric.

Iran says still upbeat about nuclear breakthrough

Tehran, Feb 28, IRNA -- Iran sounded upbeat Monday about a breakthrough in its nuclear standoff with the Europeans, saying the country sees no reason to abandon negotiations yet.

"Iran is hopeful about continuing negotiations with the Europeans and we have not come yet to a conclusion to cut off the talks," Government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh told reporters here.

The key sticking point in the negotiations is uranium enrichment which Tehran has suspended as a confidence-building gesture, but the country insists that it cannot be cajoled to sustain the suspension for good.

The Europeans, represented by Germany, France and Britain, have been pressing the Islamic Republic on this in return for a package of incentives.

But, Ramezanzadeh threw the ball in the Europeans' court, saying Iran wants them to respond in kind to the country's confidence-building efforts.

"Over the past two years, we have carried out confidence-building according to international laws and now it is the other negotiating party's turn to clarify its position," he said.

... Payvand News - 2/28/05 ... --

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