Accessibility links

Breaking News

EU, Iran Hold Nuclear Talks

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said a meeting in Rome with Iran's new top negotiator on Tehran's nuclear program was "constructive". A new round of talks is expected to be held by the end of November. Sabina Castelfranco reports from Rome.

The meeting between EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Iranian officials was the first since the appointment of Saeed Jalili as Iran's new negotiator on the issue, after the resignation this weekend of Ali Larijani. Both Iranians took part in Tuesday's meeting in Rome and said Iran would continue working with the EU.

After the meeting, Larijani said the talks addressed Iran's work with the United Nations nuclear watchdog - the International Atomic Energy Agency - which is investigating Iran's past nuclear activities, as well as other nuclear issues

Jalili says Tehran supports dialogue with the West and that he sees the talks as an opportunity to forge better ties with Europe. He says he will continue the same course pursued by his predecessor Larijani.

Solana has been studying the possibility of entering formal negotiations with Iran on international requests that it halt sensitive nuclear activities. He says he expects more talks with the Iranians by the end of November.

"The meeting of today has been constructive," he said. "I have been, for the last period of time, working with Dr. Larijani and I hope very much that we will continue."

The U.N. Security Council has imposed two sets of sanctions because of Iran's refusal to suspend uranium enrichment.

Last month, the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany - with EU support - agreed to delay until November any new U.N. resolution to toughen sanctions, giving Iran more time to cooperate with an investigation into its nuclear activities. Solana says future moves were discussed.

"We announced, once again, that by the end of the month of November Dr. Baradei must present a report to the board of governance of the agency," Solana said. "They will clarify the cooperation, the level of cooperation between Tehran, Iran, and the agency."

Tehran has always insisted on its right to nuclear technology. It says its nuclear program is aimed at producing electricity, so it can preserve its oil and gas for export. President Bush has said the Iranian nuclear work may be aimed toward building nuclear weapons. Before the Rome talks, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad again rejected calls for his country to suspend uranium enrichment.