The European Union says its foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, will
meet with Iran's nuclear negotiator on October 1. The EU is describing the
meeting, which will include representatives of six other world powers,
as a first step in finding a diplomatic solution to the standoff over
Iran's nuclear program.
The meeting would be the first in a year between Iran and what is called the P5 + 1: Britain, Russia, China, France, Germany, and the United States. Representatives of these countries are expected to attend the talks beginning October 1 between EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.
Mr. Solana has been representing the six powers in talks with Iran.
The announcement comes as western nations appear to be edging in favor of tougher U.N. sanctions against Iran if a diplomatic solution is not found regarding its nuclear program. Iran says its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes, but the United States and European nations in particular fear Iran wants to build a nuclear bomb.
In a speech in Vienna, outgoing chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohammed ElBaradei urged Iran to respond to outstanding questions about its nuclear program and take up Washington's offer of a dialogue.
"Addressing the concern of the international community about Iran's future intentions is primarily a matter of confidence building, which can only be achieved through dialogue. I therefore very much welcome the offer of the United States to initiate a dialogue with Iran without precondition and on the basis of mutual respect. It is my hope that such a dialogue will begin as early as possible," ElBaradei said.
But Iran's nuclear head Ali Akhbar Salehi maintained a tough stance in his own remarks to IAEA members. He said Iran must defend itself from attacks on its nuclear facilities.