Iran expects EU talks soon, EU says no date fixed

Iran Materials 21 November 2007 14:45 (UTC +04:00)

( Reuters ) - An Iranian nuclear negotiator expects to hold talks with a senior European Union official in the next few days after a meeting planned for this week was cancelled, an Iranian news agency reported on Wednesday.

However, the EU said no date had been fixed for any meetings between Iranian and European officials.

Deputy nuclear negotiator Javad Vaeedi and his EU counterpart had been due to meet in Vienna on Wednesday ahead of possible talks between EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and chief Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.

But EU officials said on Monday Iran had cancelled because Vaeedi had reported sick.

Solana is due to report on Iran's readiness or otherwise to suspend uranium enrichment and enter into negotiations on its nuclear program before major powers take a decision on whether to impose further sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Vaeedi did not say why Wednesday's meeting had been postponed, in comments carried by the Fars News Agency.

"This meeting will take place in the next few days. We are trying to organize the date and the place of negotiations," Vaeedi said.

The secretariat of Iran's Supreme National Security Council said in a statement the meeting was expected to take place next week, ISNA news agency said.

However, Solana's spokeswoman said no new date had been fixed for the deputy-level meeting and denied a separate Iranian report that Solana and Jalili were scheduled to meet on November 26.

"Solana will be in Washington then for the Annapolis conference," she said of a high-level meeting on the Middle East hosted by the United States.

The West believes Iran's nuclear program is a cover for making an atomic bomb, which Tehran denies. Enriched uranium can be used as fuel for power plants but also, if refined further, provide material for bombs.