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11/28/05

UK confirms EU nuclear talks offer with Iran

London, Nov 28, IRNA-The British government confirmed Monday that the European Union had delivered a letter to Iran over the weekend offering to renew nuclear talks with Iran.

The Foreign Office said that the offer was made "to discuss the basis for further negotiations."

"In this context, we support ideas such as the Russian proposal for a joint venture for uranium enrichment outside Iran," a Foreign Office spokesman told IRNA.

"Such ideas could implement elements in any solution" to the dispute over the nature of Iran's nuclear programme, he suggested.

The offer was made in response to a letter sent earlier this month by the secretary of Iran's National Security Council, Ali Larijani, to Britain, France and Germany, which has been leading EU nuclear negotiations.

It came after the EU and US stepped back from pressing last week's board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency to refer Tehran to the UN Security Council.

"I still believe that robust verification by the Agency, combined with active dialogue among all concerned parties, is the best way to move forward," IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said in an introductory statement to the board meeting.

The EU letter is any attempt to break the stalemate that led to the breakdown in two years of EU-Iran talks to achieve a comprehensive solution based on meeting Iran's right to a nuclear energy programme and ensuring its peaceful nature.

The Foreign Office spokesman said that the EU-3 were calling on Iran to take a "constructive approach" to the offer and to "refrain from further unilateral measures that will worsen the situation." He was unable to confirm reports that the resumption of talks could start as early as December 10, saying that there had been "no dates or locations" agreed for officials to meet.

The Russian offer, which aims to recognize Iran's right to nuclear technology reportedly makes a key concession of allowing Iran to develop an early part of the fuel cycle.

It also provides safeguards against the diversion of materials for any weapons programme by stipulating that all uranium enrichment be carried out on Russian territory at a plant to be built and jointly owned with Iran.

Talks between the two sides broke down in August when Iran rejected an EU offer of economic and political incentives in return for a permanent suspension of the development of a fuel enrichment cycle that has the potential for military use.

But in an interview with IRNA in London last month, Britain's Ambassador to Tehran Richard Dalton indicated that the EU could break the deadlock over Iran's nuclear programme by advancing its original offer made under the terms of the Paris Agreement.

"We think that the proposal that EU put forward can be certainly improved and the proposal of (the Iranian President) his Excellency Mr Ahmadinejad made in New York can clearly go on to the table," Dalton said.

... Payvand News - 11/28/05 ... --



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