US, EU drop special Iran meeting plan

The US and the EU have agreed not to seek an emergency meeting of the watchdog UN nuclear agency even if Iran fails to meet a 3 September UN deadline to suspend atomic fuel work that could be used to make nuclear weapons, according to diplomats.

    Iran's Ali Larijani wants more nations to join nuclear talks

    An emergency session of the International Atomic Energy Agency on 6 September, which the US was seeking and which could lead to the referral of Iran to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions, is "not going to take place," a senior EU diplomat on Thursday told AFP in Vienna where the IAEA is based.

    Russia, which has a large contract to build Iran's first nuclear reactor, had objected to holding such a special meeting before a summit at the UN headquarters in New York from 14-16 September, a Western diplomat told AFP.

    The diplomats asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.

    UN atomic watchdog agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei is to meet in Vienna on Friday with Iran's new nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, a spokeswoman said.

    Russian factor

    Iranian hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Russian President Vladimir Putin are to attend the summit and Russia "wanted to give room for what could happen in New York and not to miss an opportunity" for diplomacy, the EU diplomat said.

    The diplomat was speaking about efforts to get Iran to resume both the fuel suspension and talks with the EU that focus on winning guarantees that Tehran will not make nuclear weapons.

    IAEA has asked Iran to reinstate
    a suspension of nuclear fuel work

    The Western diplomat said: "With the Russians dead set against it (the emergency meeting), it's not going to happen."

    Iran invited more countries on Thursday to join Europeans leading troubled talks over its nuclear programme, apparently seeking to bring in more sympathetic negotiators.

    The surprise call was part of a drive to dramatically change negotiations Europe hoped would rein in Iran's nuclear ambitions.

    Iranian negotiator Larijani said more nations should join the talks.

    "There is a serious question in Iran that asks why nuclear negotiations should be limited to just three European countries," he told state-run television.
    Regular meeting

    Diplomats said the IAEA would review Iran's compliance with the agency's request for it to stop nuclear fuel work at a regular quarterly meeting of the IAEA's 35-nation board of governors in Vienna on 19 September, after the UN summit.

    US spokesman in Vienna Matthew Boland refused to comment on the report.

    IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei
    is due to submit a report on Iran

    The US had been lobbying hard this week at IAEA headquarters for Iran to be referred quickly to the Security Council if it failed to meet the 3 September deadline, diplomats said.

    The IAEA board, which is to receive a report on Iran on 3 September from agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei, has called on Tehran to reinstate a suspension of nuclear fuel work.

    It resumed such work in early August after a hiatus since November 2004.

    The suspension paved the way for talks that began last December in which the EU sought guarantees from Iran that it does not intend to make nuclear weapons, despite Washington's claims that the country plans to do just that.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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