Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Vienna summit evening:U.S. Joins Talks With Iran

Nuclear iran -- The U.S. will join European talks with Iran about its nuclear program if enrichment of uranium is ``verifiably'' halted, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will say later today, according to excerpts of her remarks released by the State Department.
President George W. Bush telephoned Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Andrea Merkel and all three agree with the decision, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said.
``There are going to be some changes'' in the U.S. approach that Snow said would make the allies' previous position ``more robust and muscular.''
``There are not going to be direct talks with Iran, one-on- one,'' he said.
The U.S. is working to win the backing of China and Russia for a United Nations Security Council resolution designed to compel Iran to curtail its nuclear efforts, according to a State Department official who briefed a group of reporters in Washington. The official asked not to be identified.
It is not clear yet whether a resolution would include a threat of sanctions, the official said.
China and Russia have opposed passage of a UN resolution under Chapter Seven of the United Nations' charter, which allows the world body to threaten the use of force against member countries. Officials from the two countries say they fear the U.S. would use such approval to act unilaterally as it did in Iraq.
The Bush administration, in an effort to win Russian support, has agreed to narrow the relevant language from the UN Charter, the New York Times reported today, citing U.S. and European officials.
Iran said yesterday 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 UN Security Council has called for.
ElBaradei: Iran not an immediate nuclear threat
Iran does not pose an immediate nuclear threat and the world must act cautiously to avoid repeating mistakes made with Iraq and North Korea, the head of the U.N, nuclear watchdog agency said on Tuesday.
Some observers see elBaradei statement as indirect alarm for today summit in Vienna about Eu package for halting Iranian enrichment in his soil.
Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the world shouldn't "jump the gun" with erroneous information as he said the U.S.-led coalition did in Iraq in 2003, nor should it push the country into retaliation as international sanctions did in North Korea.
"Our assessment is that there is no immediate threat," the winner of the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize told a forum organized by the Monterey Institute of International Studies south of San Francisco. "We still have lots of time to investigate."
"You look around in the Middle East right now and it's a total mess," he said. "You can not add oil to that fire."
The recent violent history in Iraq bears an important lesson for diplomacy with neighboring Iran, the diplomat said. "We should not jump the gun. We should be very careful about assessing the information available to us," he said.

The Bush administration led a coalition into Iraq in 2003 saying President Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction. No such weapons were found.
"I ask myself every day if that's the way we want to go in getting rid of every single dictator," ElBaradei said.
While it was unclear whether Iran ultimately intended to redirect its development of nuclear power into a weapons system, it was clear there was no danger of that right now, he said.
The five U.N. Security Council permanent powers and Germany, trying to curb Tehran's nuclear program, are planning to meet in Vienna on Thursday to try to finalize a package of incentives for Iran to halt uranium enrichment along with penalties if it keeps defying international pressure.
ElBaradei said he believed a majority in the Iranian leadership was still interested in a negotiated solution and normal relations with the world. The United States is pressing for tough U.N. sanctions if Iran does not comply.
"It would be terrible" to try to strengthen sanctions, which could force Iran to retaliate, he said.
"We have learned some lessons from North Korea," he said. "When you push a country into a corner, you are giving the driver's seat to the hard-liners there."
German-russia optimistic
The five Security Council permanent powers and Germany will meet in Vienna today in hopes of finalising a package of incentives for Iran to halt enrichment along with penalties if it keeps defying international pressure.
Although Iran has vowed that nothing will dissuade it from having full-fledged nuclear technology on its soil,but A German official was upbeat that a meeting of the UN Security Council's five permanent members and Germany in Vienna on Thursday would clinch joint offer aimed at defusing the crisis over Iran's nuclear programme.
"(This is) a decisive phase to show Iran an alternative," said Martin Jaeger, Berlin's chief foreign ministry spokesman.
Jaeger, however, declined to give any details on the substance of a possible offer to Iran.
The German newspaper Die Zeit, citing unnamed sources, said in addition to technical aid for Iran's civil nuclear programme, the package will include "suggestions which Tehran could understand as the perspective of a sort of security


guarantee."
In ankara,also Russia's foreign minister said Wednesday that A meeting on Thursday between the six nations leading efforts to solve crisis around Iran's nuclear programs could bring a solution.
Sergei Lavrov called on the participants in the negotiations to avoid making "sharp movements" and wasting a real chance to resolve the situation.
"We hope proposals can be drawn up at tomorrow's meeting in Vienna that will open up a chance for a peaceful resolution [of the problem]," Lavrov said.
at the same time recent reports from vienna and other european capitals appeared close to agreement Tuesday on steps for acepting Eu3 package.

The intensive discussions involve a package of incentives the EU will offer Iran, in exchange for Tehran's halting of uranium enrichment, providing more access to United Nations inspectors and answering outstanding questions from the inspectors.

Differences remain over the timing of sanctions if Iran refuses.

The Russians and Chinese are reluctant to support sanctions, particularly if they are tied to the EU offer.

The U.S. wants the EU to present its package of incentives at the same time the council approves a resolution authorizing sanctions if Iran fails to comply within 30 days.

Although positions have moved closer in recent discussions, differences apparently remain over crucial legal questions, including which chapter of the U.N. charter would be cited to authorize Iran's censure and which sanctions would be considered.

Iran has sent mixed signals about its willingness to negotiate. as same as Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, who is traveling in Malaysia, said Iran wanted to resume talks with the EU but would not talk to the United States,The message from Tehran was less conciliatory. In a speech at Tehran University, Mohammed Saeedi, the deputy nuclear energy chief, cautioned Europeans to "consider irreversible realities" in their offer to Iran, a reference to his country's successful production of enriched uranium for power plants. Although the amount produced was small, and its enrichment level well below weapons grade, the achievement showed that Iranian engineers were on their way to mastering the technology.
(posted by ali ghanndi)

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