French delegation gets no new insight into Iran's nuclear policy

A visiting French parliamentary delegation failed to gain new insights into Iran's nuclear policies during a visit to Iran, a French legislator said Sunday in Tehran, according to dpa.

"As far as the nuclear issue is concerned, we leave Iran with less than we knew before," French socialist lawmaker Elisabeth Guigou told reporters at the French ambassador's residence in Tehran.

The French delegation, all members of the parliamentary Foreign Policy Commission and headed by socialist MP Jean-Louis Bianco, met with several Iranian officials in Tehran during its two-day visit.

The aim of the talks with representatives of the Iranian side, including Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, was to get a better understanding of Iran's positions in the nuclear dispute as well as its stance on Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East.

"They made speeches again and insisted on their previous positions and there was no new insight to get out of the current impasse," Bianco said.

Iran insists on its right to pursue civil nuclear technology in line with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and considers the three United Nations resolutions and financial sanctions against it as politically motivated.

The West in general - and the UN Security Council veto-holding nations plus Germany in particular - fear that Iran might misuse its nuclear projects for military aims.

Tehran has so far categorically rejected this and insisted that all its projects are peaceful and under the surveillance of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The French delegation also discussed the Iranian stance toward Israel and made it clear to the Iranian side that any violation of Israel's security would not be tolerated by Paris.

Bianco also said that the Iranian proposal for settling the Middle East dispute - a referendum to be held by all Palestinians, including all refugees, for determining their fate - was not acceptable as it would not include a two-state option.

The only topic on which some sort of understanding could be reached was that of Afghanistan, Guigou said.

The Afghan issue is however no major dispute between Iran and the West, especially since the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai also has ties with Tehran.

European parliamentary delegations occasionally visit Tehran to hold talks with officials and opposition figures. But most of the visits have ended with no tangible results.

French legislator Phillipe Cochet said that if an effective agenda was drawn, an Iranian parliamentary delegation might be invited to Paris for talks.

"But there should be some concrete issues on the agenda as we do not want to say and hear the same things again," Cochet said.

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