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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran, EU discuss resumption of nuclear talks in Turkey

RIA Novosti

25/04/2007 19:06 ANKARA, April 25 (RIA Novosti) - Iran's top nuclear negotiator and Europe's foreign policy and security chief started Wednesday a two-day round of discussions on the future of talks over the Islamic Republic's controversial nuclear program in the Turkish capital.

Talks in Ankara between Javier Solana and Iran's Ali Larijani, scheduled for April 25 through 26, will be another attempt to resolve a standoff over Iran's nuclear program, which Western nations and Israel suspect is a covert weapons program, while the Islamic Republic has consistently claimed it is pursuing civilian nuclear generation.

Since Iran resumed uranium enrichment in January 2006, the West has pressed for halting research on uranium, which can be used to produce nuclear weapons. In October, the EU said talks with Tehran had failed, and later declared support for sanctions against the Islamic Republic that the UN Security Council introduced in December and toughened in March.

Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul earlier said the initiative to hold the talks in Ankara came from both Solana and Larijani.

"New opportunities appeared, and they [the sides] decided to meet. Turkey in its turn agreed to host the meeting and we hope it leads to positive results," said Gul, who is also deputy prime minister.

Speaking shortly before his Tuesday meeting with Solana in Ankara, Ali Larijani called for a serious approach to negotiations and warned against any "diplomatic games."

"If the West wants to approach the situation realistically, it should not set any preliminary conditions, because now the circumstances have changed, which requires fresh incentives," Larijani said.

"I think, the European Union will introduce us to its new initiatives," the Iranian official said." That is why we are here."

On the eve of today's meeting between the EU and Iranian officials, local and Western media disseminated reports, citing a unanimous diplomatic source, which hinted on the possibility of a compromise based on a partial or temporary suspension of Iran's nuclear program, rather than on a complete moratorium.

After two days of consultations, the sides are expected to hold a joint news conference on prospects for future talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany.

However, high ranking Iranian officials, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have repeatedly stated that Iran would not discuss shutting down its uranium enrichment program even if nuclear talks are resumed.

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