Thursday, October 25, 2007

Larijani: Constructive Nuclear Ideas Introduced

From Iranian news paper:

ROME, Oct. 24--Iran’s former top nuclear negotiator said on Wednesday ’constructive’ ideas that could yield progress over the impasse on Tehran’s nuclear case had been introduced during talks with top Italian and European Union officials. Ali Larijani spoke at a press conference after meeting with Italian Premier Romano Prodi and the EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, AP reported.
“In the last part of the talks with Mr. Prodi and Mr. Solana, ideas were introduced that were constructive and that might lead to further progress,“ he said without elaborating.

Larijani was in Rome on Tuesday and Wednesday with Tehran’s new top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, who was appointed over the weekend. Jalili did not speak at the press conference, and questions from the media were not taken.

After Tuesday’s session, both sides said more talks would likely be held by the end of November. The US and its European allies are hoping to persuade Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program, as demanded by the UN Security Council.
On Wednesday, the two Iranians held talks with Prodi, whose country is Iran’s number one trading partner in the EU and, as of this year, is on the Security Council as a non-permanent member. Solana joined them at the end.

Prodi said he had urged Tehran to comply with Security Council resolutions demanding a freeze on uranium enrichment. He described the meeting between Iran and EU as ’important’ and ’constructive’.

“The two delegations have had an important, constructive session on Iran’s nuclear dossier,“ Prodi said. “Italy encourages this dialogue as the only instrument to find a solution.“

The departure of Larijani as top nuclear negotiator was widely interpreted as a victory for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, raising questions about whether Tehran had decided to take an even more defiant position in the standoff with the West.
While Wednesday’s talks were underway in Rome, the Iranian president dismissed Security Council resolutions imposing sanctions on Iran as “worthless papers“ and vowed his country won’t give up its right to enrich uranium and produce nuclear fuel.
Jalili insisted that Tehran’s line would not change and he received the support of Larijani.

“Negotiation and cooperation is our basic approach,“ Jalili said after Tuesday’s meeting. “The course that we’ll continue will be the same trend that he (Larijani) has pursued in this period of time.“

Speaking to reporters after the Rome talks on Tuesday, Larijani was dismissive of speculation about his resignation and alleged differences with Ahmadinejad. He said the replacement was just a matter of a generational change.

“The point is our country is a democracy, there is rotation and circulation of forces and powers,“ he said.

“Jalili is a friend of mine, seven or eight years younger, energetic.“
Jalili, 42, fought in Saddam-imposed war in the 1980s as an officer. With a PhD in political science, he has been a career diplomat since the late 1980s.
Named by Ahmadinejad as deputy foreign minister for European and American affairs, he has in the past served as a quiet envoy for the president, taking messages to European officials. He accompanied Ahmadinejad on a recent visit to New York.

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