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EU Spokeswoman Says No Nuclear Talks Under Way With Iran

On 21 February, Radio Farda correspondent Fariba Mavaddat spoke with Christina Gallach, spokeswoman for EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, about the previous day's meetings in Brussels between EU leaders and Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki. Gallach emphasized that there are currently no negotiations being conducted between Iran and the EU regarding Iran's nuclear program.

RFE/RL: The Iranian foreign minister has said that Iran will  no longer hold negotiations with the EU-3. Does this mean that the European Union's role in negotiating with Iran as we have known it over the past 2 1/2 years is over now and the Paris agreement is now null and void?

Christina Gallach: Let me clarify something. The discussions that we had yesterday with Mr. Mottaki, the minister of foreign affairs of Iran, were not a negotiating session. At this very moment, there are no negotiations taking place between the European Union and Iran. The only negotiating process which is supported by the European Union with Iran is the one being led by Russia. For the European Union to be able to reopen the negotiations with Iran, we need to see a clear statement and a clear implementation of a statement by Iran that says that it goes back to the full suspension of enrichment-related activities. That is why we had yesterday quite a lengthy discussion with the minister of foreign affairs of Iran. That is why we had an important session with the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament. But there were no negotiations on nuclear issues. The Iranian-EU discussions of yesterday touched the position of the European Union regarding the nuclear issue, but [also] the concerns that Europe has at this very moment of the role of Iran in the wider region of the Middle East.

RFE/RL: Did Iran agree to bear the EU's position in mind in its negotiations with Russia?

Gallach: Mr. Mottaki knows very well the position of the European Union regarding the nuclear issue. He also knows that the discussions with Russia -- if they reach an agreement in the framework that Russia and the European Union have forseeen,

we are going to support them because we think that would open a negotiated outcome that the European Union can live with and the European Union can clearly accept. But at this point we do not see enough progress yet along these lines. We have to continue supporting this process, but at the very end the key moment is going to be -- for the international community regarding Iran -- is going to be back to the Board of Governors [of the International Atomic Energy Agency] of 6 March.

RFE/RL: So is it fair to say in other words that the EU is completely distancing itself from the process and leaving it to the Russians and the IAEA to decide?

Gallach: I don't think we can say that. The European Union is fully involved in the work that is being done by the IAEA, by the director-general. We are following that very closely. Many members of the European Union are members of the Board of Governors; therefore there is total implication, so to speak. And, at the same time, we are in contact with the Russians regarding the opening that Russia has put on the table. But at this point, let me repeat, there are no negotiations taking place between Iran and the European Union.

RFE/RL: Mr. Mottaki has warned that should there be no negotiations, in his words, "something will happen." What is your interpretation of that -- is it just sheer diplomatic talk or is there some substance to it?

Gallach: For me it is very difficult to interpret this statement. What I can say is that yesterday's discussions between the European Union and Iran didn't bring anything new. We didn't hear any new proposals nor an adherence of Iran to the premise of the international community, which is to go back to the full suspension of enrichment-related activities. Yesterday we did not see any opening upon which we could build more negotiations between the European Union and Iran.

Copyright (c) 2006 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

... Payvand News - 2/23/06 ... --

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