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Straw to consult Rice ahead of EU-Iran emergency talks

London, May 17, IRNA-British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw travels to Washington Tuesday to meet his US counterpart Condoleezza Rice ahead of EU-Iran emergency talks that are expected to be held next week.

The Foreign Office in London said that Straw would discuss "the full range of international issues" with Rice and other senior members of the US Administration and Congress.

He was also due to make a speech outlining the UK's foreign policy priority at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, which is dedicated to providing world leaders with strategic insights on current and emerging global issues.

Next week, the foreign ministers of Britain, France, and Germany and the EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana are expected to hold talks to defuse the looming crisis with Iran's Supreme National Security Council Chairman Hassan Rowhani over the country's nuclear program.

Although the US has not been a party to the EU3's negotiations to reach long-term arrangements with Iran, its position is seen as central in underwriting any prospective agreement.

Questioned at a press conference in London on Monday, Straw said he was "cautiously hopeful" about breaking the impasse during five months of negotiations based upon last year's Paris Agreement that have so far failed to come up with a formula.

"What we seek is a pathway by which Iran is able to do that to which it is entitled, namely to generate electricity by means of nuclear energy," he said when asked what he could offer to prevent Iran from resuming its fuel cycle program.

The foreign secretary made no direct reference to previous EU demands for Iran to abandon the enrichment of uranium, but said the aim was for "very clear objective guarantees that Iran is not using its nuclear program as a cover to build a nuclear weapons program." "As for the outcome, I remain ever hopeful," he said during a joint press conference with the Foreign Minister of Afghanistan, Abdullah Abdullah.

"There have been many predictions that these discussions might fail in the past, so far, despite the difficulties, which are as everybody understands made trickier by the impending presidential elections in Iran on June 17, I remain cautiously hopeful," he said.

... Payvand News - 5/17/05 ... --

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