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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

EU's Solana expects new talks with Iran's Larijani later in July

RIA Novosti

11/07/2007 14:28

TEHRAN, July 11 (RIA Novosti) - The European Union's foreign policy chief said he expected a new round of talks with Iran's top nuclear negotiator to be held later this month, an Iranian news agency said.

IRNA quoted Javier Solana as saying he was most likely to meet with Ali Larijani by the end of this month to discuss Iran's uranium enrichment program, which has aroused international concerns over nuclear non-proliferation. Iran says it needs nuclear research to generate energy.

Larijani and Solana met in Lisbon June 23 for further negotiations, which the EU executive described as constructive. Tehran said the meeting had been crucial because Larijani had offered to step up cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN's nuclear watchdog.

UN weapons inspectors led by Olli Heinonen, the agency's deputy chief, arrived in Tehran Wednesday, July 11, for two days of negotiations to discuss "an action plan" proposed by Iran.

Meanwhile, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reiterated Wednesday that the country would proceed with uranium enrichment for peaceful purposes and in compliance with IAEA requirements, but was ready to allay Western concerns through cooperation. "The Islamic Republic favors a dialogue," he said.

The president also expressed skepticism about a recent statement by IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei about Iran slowing uranium enrichment at its nuclear research facility in Natanz.

"The process of installing the centrifuges could be slowed or accelerated, it is a technical issue, but nobody should expect us to give up our rights and suspend the work," he said.

On March 24, the UN Security Council toughened sanctions against Iran after the Islamic Republic defied two previous UN resolutions urging it to abandon uranium enrichment, which could be used both for energy generation and to create a nuclear bomb. The resolution expired May 23 but Iran failed to meet the requirements.

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