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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

EU sources: Russia can help in breaking current EU-Iran impasse

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Brussels, Oct 24, IRNA
Russia is well poised to play a crucial mediator's role in breaking the current deadlock in nuclear negotiations between the European Union and the Islamic Republic of Iran, according to EU sources in Brussels.

EU-Iran nuclear talks are in a limbo after the EU3 (France, Germany and the UK) tabled a resolution adopted by the IAEA on September 24 declaring Iran in violation of the NPT and with the possibility of being referred to the UN Security Council.

Twenty-two of the 35 IAEA governing board members voted in favor of the resolution, but Russia abstained.

EU officials, including EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, are calling for talks with Tehran to resume on the condition that Iran goes back to its decision to suspend the nuclear fuel cycle.

"Both sides are now looking for a face-saving formula to resume the talks," EU sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told IRNA.

In August, Tehran rejected a package of EU incentives to suspend all work on the nuclear fuel cycle and resumed uranium ore conversion at its Isfahan plant.

Iran is saying that it is ready to resume talks with the EU but without any preconditions.

Last week, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice failed to win Russia's support for a referral of Iran to the UN Security Council.

Despite her attempts to press Russian President Vladimir Putin to support a referral, Putin remained unmoved and stressed that the IAEA must deal with Iran.

Russia is helping Iran build a $800-million reactor in the country's southern city of Bushehr to generate electricity.

South Africa is another country which is trying to find an acceptable formula for both sides to return to the negotiating table.

Meanwhile, certain EU member states like Italy are questioning the wisdom of letting the EU-3 talk with Iran on behalf of the 25-member European bloc.

Instead, they would like to see a different kind of
configuration such as the EU Troika (the current EU Presidency, the Commission and the Council) to continue talks with Iran.

The IAEA Board of Governors meets in Vienna on November 24 to discuss Iran's nuclear program.

EU sources also stress that Iran should take the European bloc's concerns about the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic "seriously."
Brussels thinks that those who are opposed to progress in EU-Iran nuclear talks will start using the human rights issue to impede the talks and to put pressure on Tehran.



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