Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Iran signals flexibility

tehran wants fresh nuclear dialogue
nuclear iran-Tue 30 May 2006
reuters-Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki speaks during a news conference at the end of the Ministerial Meeting of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement in Putrajaya outside Kuala Lumpur May 30, 2006. The world's non-aligned states are likely to throw their weight behind Iran in its nuclear stand-off with the West, according to a draft statement prepared on Tuesday for a meeting in Malaysia. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad
PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia (Reuters) - Iran said on Tuesday it wanted to resume nuclear negotiations with the EU and could even talk to Washington if its arch foe "changed behaviour".

Tehran also said it was willing to negotiate on the number of uranium-enriching centrifuges it uses for research, but stressed it would not stop running the devices entirely as the U.N. Security Council has called for.
The mixture of conciliatory and defiant statements was unlikely to appease the United States and its allies who fear Iran could use even limited enrichment facilities to master the technology required to make atomic weapons.
Tehran says it seeks nuclear energy only for electricity.
U.N. Security Council powers and Germany will meet in Vienna on Thursday to finalise a package of incentives for Iran to halt enrichment along with penalties if it keeps defying international pressure, officials said.
Iran has vowed that nothing will dissuade it from having full-fledged nuclear technology on its soil, spurring one senior EU diplomat to say on Tuesday that the painstakingly crafted incentives could end up an "academic and theoretical exercise".
Speaking in Malaysia on Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Tehran could resume dialogue with the United States, after an official freeze of 26 years, provided Washington changed its behaviour.
He did not say what behaviour. Iran has said previously Washington must stop seeking to topple its Islamic government.
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said the European Union would welcome direct talks between the United States and Iran, but it was for Washington and Tehran to decide.
"As far as direct contacts between the U.S. and Iran, as you know they've spent 20 years not talking to each other," he said.
"A logical analysis would say that that should come to an end because Iran is going to be a very important player in the world. But this is a decision that ... they have to take."
Mottaki said Iran had told Britain, France and Germany it wanted fresh negotiations to resolve the nuclear stalemate. The "EU3" has said Iran must reinstate a suspension of uranium enrichment under which previous negotiations proceeded.
The United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany aim to wrap up a "carrots-and-sticks" package for Iran at Thursday's meeting of foreign ministers in Vienna.
"We hope the meeting will achieve positive results," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said in Beijing.
Diplomats said last week the incentives prepared by the EU3 for Iran would include a light-water nuclear reactor and an assured foreign supply of atomic fuel so Iran would not have to enrich uranium at home.
But Washington has been wary about transferring reactor technology that might be diverted into clandestine bomb-making.
Sanctions could entail visa bans and a freeze on assets of senior Iranian officials before resorting to trade measures.
But Russia and China, two of the five veto-holding Security Council powers, have balked at a Western thrust to brand Tehran a "threat to international peace and security".
They argue this could lead to U.S.-led military action against a state not proven to be seeking atomic bombs in secret.
U.S. President George W. Bush spoke to Russia's President Vladimir Putin by telephone about Iran on Tuesday.
"Both leaders spoke in favour of the future development of international efforts in the interests of resolving the Iranian nuclear problem," the Kremlin press service said in a statement.(posted by ali ghannadi)
An EU diplomat cautioned against likening a deal on the package to a turning point in the Iran crisis.
"This proposal is not the be all and end all. It could all be meaningless. It just depends on Iran," he said.
Tehran has so far dismissed the initiative -- "candies for gold" in the words of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Iran's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said Tehran could negotiate on the size of what it calls nuclear research.
Vienna diplomats say Iran has signalled it may renounce "industrial scale" enrichment and reinstate short-notice UN inspections if it can keep "research and development" work.


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