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To: DoctorZIn

DoctorZin Note: BREAKING NEWS!

Tuesday December 21, 12:59 PM

Iran says U.S. wants talks

By Paul Hughes

HOSSEIN MOUSAVIAN
Click to enlarge photo

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Washington wants to hold direct talks with Tehran, with which it broke ties 24 years ago, to discuss a number of issues including the Islamic state's nuclear programme, a senior Iranian security official has said.

Hossein Mousavian, one of Iran's chief nuclear negotiators, also said Iran had no objections to European Union efforts to involve Washington in negotiations aimed at dispelling international concerns about Iran's atomic ambitions.

But a Western diplomat in Tehran said talk of Washington joining the nuclear dialogue with Tehran was premature.

EU officials privately acknowledge that their efforts to persuade Tehran to give up sensitive nuclear activities, such as uranium enrichment, have little chance of success without full U.S. support and involvement in the talks.

"The United States wants negotiations with Iran and definitely doesn't like having a mediator in between, even if the Europeans want to mediate," the official IRNA news agency quoted Mousavian as saying on Tuesday.

"But they are after comprehensive and conclusive talks which cover all disputed issues," he said.

U.S. and Iranian officials have held occasional talks in the past on specific issues such as Afghanistan and Iraq. But talks broke down last year when Washington accused Iran of providing shelter for al Qaeda members behind bombings in Saudi Arabia.

"The Europeans have launched massive efforts to bring the United States into the nuclear negotiations," said Mousavian, who is secretary of the foreign policy committee on Iran's Supreme National Security Council.

"We have no objection to the Americans joining the Europeans in this process," he added.

U.S. COULD HAMPER IRAN-EU TALKS

Washington accuses Iran of trying to make atomic arms under the cover of a civil nuclear energy programme. Iran denies this.

"If the Americans want to hamper the Iran-EU cooperation, they can be effective and no one can deny it ... US interaction with Europe in this process is important from our point of view, nevertheless our partner is Europe not America," Mousavian said.

"I don't reject the possibility of nuclear talks between Iran and the United States, but I cannot predict the future."

The Western diplomat in Tehran said the EU "has been very clear that negotiations would have a much bigger chance of success if the Americans put their shoulders behind it".

But he said scepticism remained high in Washington that Iran was negotiating in good faith rather than trying to buy time to continue with a nuclear arms drive at a later stage.

"We're a long way from the Americans taking a seat at the negotiating table," he said.

U.S. fears that Iran has no intention of giving up a quest for atomic bombs are likely to have been exacerbated on Tuesday by reports from Vienna-based diplomats that Iran is continuing to ready large amounts of uranium for enrichment.

Uranium enrichment is a process that can be used to make fuel for nuclear power reactors or to make atomic warheads.

"The Iranians have decided to continue UF4 (uranium tetrafluoride) production until the end of February," a diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity. Two other diplomats in Vienna, where the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is based, confirmed this.

UF4 is the precursor to uranium hexafluoride (UF6), the gas that is fed into centrifuges.

Iran recently pledged to freeze all activities linked to uranium enrichment as a confidence-building gesture.


19 posted on 12/21/2004 9:39:33 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...

DoctorZin Note: BREAKING NEWS!

Iran says U.S. wants talks

Tuesday December 21, 12:59 PM
By Paul Hughes

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1305663/posts?page=19#19


20 posted on 12/21/2004 9:41:21 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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