EU's Solana to file key Iran nuclear report with or without new talks
( AFP ) - EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana will file a key report on Iran's willingness to engage in nuclear talks with or without a new meeting with Tehran's nuclear envoy, his spokeswoman said Friday.
Solana "would prefer to make his evaluation" at the end of the month to major world powers "after a second meeting with Iranian negotiators," said his spokeswoman, Cristina Gallach.
"If that's not possible, he will do so without one," she said.
Solana must report to the UN Security Council by the end of November, and he has been trying, with little success, to organize a meeting with the Islamic republic's nuclear negotiator Said Jalili well before then.
His aim, since June last year, has been to convince Iran to resume talks on suspending uranium enrichment in exchange for a package of political and economic incentives.
Should it prove impossible to organize new talks soon, his assessment of Iran's cooperation would probably remain negative, EU diplomats have said.
"In other words, the Iranians have to hurry up," one diplomat said, adding that a meeting might be possible next week, after preparatory talks between a senior EU and Iranian official in Vienna on Wednesday.
In a sign of the diplomatic tussle behind the scenes, Iran said last weekend that the EU's top diplomat and Jalili, a close ally of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, would meet at the end of the month.
But Solana's office later denied that any talks had been arranged.
The report is considered crucial for the security council to decide whether to slap new sanctions on Iran, which the West fears is trying to covertly develop a nuclear weapon.
Despite the sanctions against it, the Islamic republic has refused to suspend enrichment, which is needed to fuel a nuclear reactor but could at highly refined levels be used to build a bomb.
The UN's nuclear watchdog, in a report by its chief on Thursday, maintains that Iran has made some progress in revealing the extent of its nuclear programme but is still defying UN demands that it suspend enrichment.
After it was released, the United States said it would renew efforts to secure extra UN sanctions.
Iran, which denies seeking an atomic bomb, said the report proved there were no military intentions behind its nuclear activities.