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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Key to resumption of nuclear talks in hands of Moscow: daily

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Tehran, Oct 27, IRNA
Iran-Press-Editorial
Nuclear talks between the European Union and Iran have been in a limbo since the September 24 resolution of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) finding Iran in violation of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), said `Iran Daily' in its Perspective column on Thursday.

It said talks remain stalled because "EU officials are calling for resumptin of talks with the Islamic Republic on the condition that Iran goes back to the voluntary suspension of the nuclear fuel cycle. But senior Iranian authorities have made known they want negotiations to resume without any prior condition."
For as long as the West doubts Iran's assurances that its nuclear programs are for peaceful purposes, one has to find a "face-saving formula which could lead to the resumption of the crucial talks without injuring the pride of any side," the Perpective went on to say.

It suggests that the key to unlocking the closed negotiating door appears to be in the hands of Moscow, and cites two reasons.

First, "Russia has vested economic and strategic interests in Iran."
It says Russia is now helping Iran build a $800 million nuclear reactor in the southern city of Bushehr to generate electricity, and similar other projects are in the pipeline.

Secondly, if Iran does get to be hauled before the UN Security Council and slapped with economic sanctions, Russia would be among the first to lose lucrative business opportunities in Iran and even politically lose face in the region.

Hence, the result of US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice's recent visit to Moscow turned out to be as expected. She failed to win Russia's nod to be on their side in the highly sensitive nuclear issue. Russian President Vladimir Putin simply told her that the best venue for settling the dispute was in the IAEA.

With the IAEA set to meet again on November 24 on Iran's nuclear program, diplomatic efforts are now intensifying for both sides to resume their talks.

"The time is appropriate for Russian leaders to invite the EU and Iran plus South Africa and maybe China for talks on the nuclear issue," the Perspective suggests. Since Russia is a huge energy supplier to Europe, its voice would most likely be given an attentive ear in Brussels, it says.

In reality, "The West seems to be having second thoughts over its hard-line stance on the nuclear issue, mainly because of the strong Russian position."
Based on media reports in that part of the world, there is strong reason to believe the US and EU will not demand a referral of Iran's nuclear dossier to the UNSC when the IAEA meets in November as they would favor giving diplomacy more time to work out the issue, concludes the Perspective.

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