Saturday, May 13, 2006

Iran: Don't Repeat Nuclear Mistake
Iran's foreign minister told European states not to repeat the mistake of forcing an end to talks on Tehran's nuclear program by demanding it stop uranium enrichment, official news agency IRNA reported on Saturday. Iran accuses the three main European negotiators -- Britain, Germany and France -- of unilaterally canceling a round of talks on Iran's nuclear row in August 2005 shortly after Iran resumed its nuclear research and development activities.

"The European countries should not repeat the 'August experience'," IRNA quoted Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki as saying at a meeting in Indonesia. READ MORE

Mottaki did not elaborate further, but said Iran would cooperate fully with European states if they accepted Iran's right to have peaceful nuclear technology and enter a dialogue based on that.

On Friday, a draft EU report indicated that the European Union would insist on Monday that Iran suspend all uranium enrichment despite Tehran's demand that some be allowed for research goals.

Diplomats have said that Britain, France and Germany could meet on the margins of Monday's talks in Brussels to discuss a new package of incentives and sanctions designed to lure Iran back to the negotiating table.

The declaration drafted for EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday gave no details of a package of incentives.

Mottaki told state television: "Any incentive not including Iran's right of having the nuclear technology...does not attract our people and government at all."

Iran's nuclear case has been referred to the U.N. Security Council as the United States and European countries accuse Iran of seeking nuclear weapons. Iran denies the charge, saying it wants nuclear energy for electricity.

Adding to concerns, U.N. inspectors have found traces of near bomb-grade enriched uranium on nuclear equipment in Iran, diplomats said on Friday.

Russia and China have resisted any U.N. Security Council resolution that could end in sanctions.