Sunday, November 13, 2005

Iran stresses balanced nuclear diplomacy between West, East

The People's Daily:
Iran said on Sunday that it pursues a balance between the West and the East during nuclear negotiations, the official IRNA news agency reported.

"There is a balance on the agenda of our diplomacy and approaches. We attach importance to all countries including the West and the East...The Islamic Republic believes it should hold talks with all states and scope of negotiations should be broad," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi was quoted as saying.

Asefi made the comments in connection with Iran's chief negotiator Ali Larijani's recent emphasis on the nuclear talks with the European trio of Britain, France and Germany, which have been acting as brokers of the Iranian nuclear issue for more than two years.

Since he was appointed to hold the current post in August, Larijani has been frequently stressing the role of countries such as Russia, India and the Nonaligned Movement members in solving Iran's nuclear dispute. READ MORE

Larijani said on Saturday that his talks with visiting Russian Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov focused on Iran's nuclear negotiations with the European trio.

Asefi also reiterated Iran's rejection of performing uranium enrichment in other countries like Russia and denied Moscow had made such a proposal.

The spokesman further said that Ivanov, who arrived in Tehran on Friday for a three-day visit, held "very good and constructive" talks with senior Iranian officials including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, nuclear chief Gholamreza Aghazadeh and Larijani.

Aghazadeh said on Saturday after a meeting with Ivanov that Iran's nuclear fuel must be produced in the Iranian territory and Tehran just welcomes foreign participation in its enrichment program.

Iran has been under mounting pressure of Europe to halt the enrichment-related activities since it resumed uranium conversion activities, a preparatory step for enrichment, in early August, prompting the European Union to join the United States in backing a referral of Iran's nuclear case to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.

It was reported recently that the United States and the EU have expressed readiness to back down from their previous position that Iran must halt all enrichment-related activities and to allow Tehran to carry out uranium conversion on condition that the actual enrichment be performed in Russia.

The United States has accused Iran of developing nuclear weapons, a charge has repeatedly rejected by Tehran.