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1/13/06

Annan 'Extremely Concerned' About Iranian Situation

Source: Radio Free Europe

13 January 2006 -- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan says he is "extremely concerned" about the rising tensions over Iran's nuclear program and has offered to help mediate the crisis.

Annan made the remarks yesterday after speaking by telephone with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani.

During the 40-minute phone call, Annan said Larijani told him that Iran remains interested in "serious and constructive negotiations" with the European Union on its nuclear program.

At a gathering in Berlin yesterday, the foreign ministers of the EU-3 -- Germany, France, and Britain -- said talks with Iran had reached an impasse. They called for an emergency meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency in order to bring Iran before the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.

In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said she supported the involvement of the IAEA. She added that force is not an option at this point.

"This is not an issue of the end of diplomacy. I have heard some people say that diplomacy has failed. Well, this particular phase, with a specific set of negotiations, has not succeeded. But we now enter a new phase of diplomacy."

On CNN, Larijani said Iran's nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. He also said Iran is not worried about bringing the issue to the Security Council.

In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Iran may lose Moscow's support if it did not resume a moratorium on nuclear research.

(compiled from agency reports)


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

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