Wed, Oct 08, 2008 - Page 6 News List

Iran sends nuclear protest to EU official

P5+1 Western countries hit out at Iran at a meeting in Vienna last month over its refusal to disprove weapons allegations work and for pursuing uranium enrichment


Iran’s nuclear negotiator Said Jalili sent a protest to EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana on Monday over the West’s attitude to his country’s atomic program, a senior Iranian official said.

“In the letter, Mr Jalili complains of the attitude of the West and says their approach has harmed the constructive process of negotiations between the two parties,” the official said, declining to be named.

“In the course of negotiations, pressure instead of reason will not be a resolution,” the official news agency IRNA cited the two-page letter as saying.

The office of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council said the letter was delivered to Solana on Monday by Iranian Ambassador to Brussels Ali Asghar Khaji.

Copies of the letter were sent to the foreign ministers of the five UN Security Council permanent members — Britain, China, France, Russia and US — plus Germany.

In Washington, a State Department spokesman said the six countries, known as the P5+1, “have received a letter from Iranian nuclear negotiator Jalili and are consulting closely on next steps.”

“We cannot comment publicly on the content of the letter until after we have discussed the letter with our P5+1 partners,” the spokesman said.

Western countries hit out at Iran at a meeting in Vienna last month over its refusal to disprove allegations of past nuclear weapons work and for pursuing uranium enrichment in defiance of UN demands.

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s latest report on its six-year probe into Tehran’s contested nuclear drive “presents a decidedly bleak picture,” German Ambassador Ruediger Luedeking told the IAEA’s 35-member board.

“Iran continues to defy the requests of the international community,” Luedeking said, speaking on behalf of the so-called EU-3 of France, Germany and Britain.

The UN Security Council has slapped three rounds of sanctions on Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment, a process which can be used to make the fissile material for a nuclear bomb.

French Ambassador Francois-Xavier Deniau, speaking on behalf of the 27-country EU, was also sharply critical of Iran, “deploring” its lack of transparency.

The fact that Iran was refusing both to suspend enrichment and to clear up the allegations of weaponization studies was “alarming,” Deniau said.

Iran says it has a right to enrich uranium to make nuclear fuel as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and denies allegations of seeking atomic weapons.

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