Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Iran downbeat on nuclear talks

CNN News:
Nuclear talks between Iran and the European Union are proving more difficult than ever and the chances of averting a breakdown are only 50-50, according to a senior Iranian negotiator.

The foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana are scheduled to meet top Iranian negotiator Hassan Rohani in Geneva on Wednesday to try to rescue the negotiations.

If the talks fail, the EU could refer Iran to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions.

Tehran last week threatened to restart its uranium-enrichment program, which the EU and the United States fears is being used to develop weapons.

"Our chance for the success in tomorrow's meeting is 50-50. I think these talks were more difficult and complicated than ever. There is no guarantee for reaching an agreement," Hossein Mousavian, one of the Iranian negotiators and member of Supreme National Security Council, told reporters Tuesday after preparatory talks with EU officials in Brussels.

Meanwhile In Tehran, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi issued a veiled threat to break off the talks if Iran did not get a satisfactory reply from the Europeans, Reuters reported.

"Tomorrow's session could bring an end to the extensive talks we have had with the Europeans if they don't have a clear proposal," Asefi told Tehran radio. READ MORE

"Or they can be a turning point in relations and cooperation between Iran and Europe. There's no possibility but these two options. Working with Europe cannot continue under ambiguity."

He was speaking the day after British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw appealed to Iran to compromise. ...