Sunday, December 18, 2005

Tense Talks to Resume on Iran's Nuclear Agenda

Daniel Dombey, The Financial Times:
Britain, France and Germany face tense negotiations with Iran on Wednesday when the two sides resume talks on Tehran’s nuclear programme. The European Union at the weekend handed down its toughest warning yet to Iran in response to comments by President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad in which he denied the Holocaust occurred and called for Israel to be “wiped off the map”.

The leaders of all 25 EU states and the European Commission condemned the president’s comments “unreservedly” and said the EU was keeping its “diplomatic options under close review”, a hint at possible sanctions. READ MORE

Tony Blair has been one of the toughest European leaders with Iran, criticising the country for its alleged interference in Iraq as well as Mr Ahmadi-Nejad’s comments about Israel.

European diplomats are uncertain whether Mr Ahmadi-Nejad is backed by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, and have sought to focus criticism on the president rather than the Iranian leadership.

The Iranian foreign ministry yesterday dismissed the threat of sanctions as “baseless and illogical”. It said: “Westerners have to learn to tolerate other opinions.”