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Iran, Europeans Fail to Resolve Nuclear Impasse


Talks between European negotiators and Iran over its controversial nuclear program broke down Friday without any agreement. European officials say the talks were constructive, but Iran was not prepared to suspend parts of its program that could be used to make nuclear weapons. The talks took place in the residence of the German ambassador.

German Foreign Minister Walter Steinmeier said the EU insists Iran must suspend uranium enrichment activities before further talks can take place. The minister said Iran was not prepared to do this and the meeting abruptly ended.

The Europeans say little time is left now for Iran to make a compromise before the U.N. nuclear watchdog meets next week to debate Tehran's nuclear program.

Matthew Boland, spokesman for the U.S. mission to the IAEA in Vienna, told VOA that, according to a confidential I.A.E.A. report released to diplomats, Iran is pushing ahead with its plans to build nuclear weapons.

"The report makes clear that Iran is not taking any of the steps called for by the I.A.E.A. board in its February 4 resolution," explained Boland. "Iran has not suspended all enrichment related activities and is operating centrifuges to enrich uranium. Iran is not fully cooperating with the the I.A.E.A. and Iran has not resolved any of the outstanding problems. The report notes that, after three years of intensive inspection efforts, the I.A.E.A. cannot certify the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program."

Iran says its nulcear program is purely peaceful in nature and any action taken by the U.N. Security Council, such as sanctions, could lead to the end of diplomacy.

The International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors could decide next week that the U.N. Security Council should be involved.

A further round of talks between top European officials and Iranian nuclear diplomats is expected to take place before the I.A.E.A. meets next week in a last minute effort to save negotiations.