EU takes softer line with Iran

Tehran and EU to explore scope for reopening negotiations on contentious issue.

    Tehran says its nuclear programme is for
    civilian purposes [EPA]

    One diplomat said Solana was trying to probe "if real talks can begin".


    Proposed moratorium


    One idea would be for Iran to declare a moratorium on moving beyond activities it has already started, such as installing and running some 1,300 centrifuge machines as it seeks to upgrade from current research levels of enrichment to industrial production.


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    The moratorium could open the way for further talks with Solana, with the UN Security Council holding off on further sanctions against the Islamic Republic as long as Iran implements a full suspension of enrichment work.


    A Western diplomat said the key was to find a way "for Iran to halt its programme in a way that they are not merely stalling for time" in order to move forwards again with their nuclear ambitions.


    The diplomat said talks with the five permanent Security Council  members plus Germany would not in any case start before Iran suspends enrichment.


    "Suspension does not mean dismantling what they have built," the  diplomat said, adding that it was mainly about stopping the centrifuges from spinning in the refining of the U-235 isotope that makes for enriched uranium as well as keeping the Iranians from learning how to run centrifuges.


    Defiant Iran


    Iran says it is merely exercising its right to nuclear energy under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).


    Iran has dampened hopes of a breakthrough in the talks in Ankara by insisting it has no intention of yielding to the West's demands.


    "Why are they emphasising that Iran should suspend even for a  month?" Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president, said in an interview on Monday with Iran's Arabic-language television Al-Alam.


    Iran faces a new Security Council deadline in one month to suspend enrichment, after which more sanctions could be imposed.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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