Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Europe and Iran Report Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the EU said Sunday that they had made progress in the search for a compromise to avert possible UN sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program. "The meetings … have been productive," said Javier Solana, the EU’s foreign policy chief, after talks with Ali Larijani, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator. "We have clarified some of the misunderstandings that existed before." He added that he wanted to continue the negotiations. "We have made progress," he said. "We want to continue that line, and we are going to meet next week." Larijani said "many misunderstandings had been removed."

The cautious-but-positive tone of the statements from Solana and Larijani contrasted sharply with the US position outlined last week by Nicholas Burns, the under secretary of state for political affairs.

Reuters reported Sunday that Larijani had said Iran would be willing to consider a two-month moratorium on its uranium-enrichment program, but other Iranian officials denied that. Although both sides were unwilling to give many details about the talks, there were suggestions that Iran might be willing to suspend its uranium-enrichment program if negotiations on the package were to start. The US, however, might not accept the idea. NY Times

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