Iran, EU to decide on further nuclear talks
04/08/2008 13:03 TEHRAN, August 4 (RIA Novosti) - Iran's top nuclear negotiator will speak to the European Union's foreign policy chief over the phone on Monday to discuss further negotiations on the country's nuclear program, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said.
The statement comes two days after a deadline set by six world powers for Iran to respond to proposals designed to persuade Tehran to halt nuclear activities and avoid further international sanctions.
"Mr. Jalili will contact Mr. Solana by phone today. We maintain a serious, strategic approach to the talks and therefore will continue discussions on the Iranian nuclear issue," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said, adding Iran would not give up its right to pursue a civilian nuclear program.
Javier Solana has represented the six nations - the five permanent Security Council members and Germany - at the long-running nuclear talks with Iran. Saeed Jalili, head of the Supreme National Security Council, negotiates on Iran's behalf.
Iran failed to give its reply on Saturday to a package of trade and nuclear technology incentives in exchange for agreement to suspend uranium enrichment, a process that can be used in nuclear weapons production.
Tehran also dismissed the United States' warning that Iran could face tougher UN Security Council sanctions, saying Russia and other countries would not support such measures.
Russia has opposed any deadline for a reply from Iran, while calling on the country to respond swiftly, and resisted tougher sanctions.
The Islamic Republic is already under three sets of UN sanctions imposed since 2006.
The U.S. and Israel have refused to rule out military action against Iran, the world's fourth largest oil producer, if diplomacy fails to end the dispute.
Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Commander Mohammad Ali Jafari reiterated a threat in comments quoted by Fars news agency on Monday to block the Strait of Hormuz, through which about 40% of global oil shipments pass, in the event of aggression against the country.
Iran has recently conducted a series of missile test launches in the strait, which is located at the southern end of the Gulf.
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