US, EU, Russia urge Iran to stop enrichment and return to talks

Iran Materials 22 February 2007 17:48 (UTC +04:00)

( http://www.irna.ir/en ) - The United States, the European Union and Russia have called on Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment activities and return to the negotiation table, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in Berlin on Thursday.

"We reconfirmed that we will use our available channels and the Security Council to achieve that goal and it is to get Iran back to negotiations once they suspend their enrichment activities," Rice announced after talks with her German and Russian counterparts Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Sergei Lavrov and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

"We have the common goal to encourage Iran back to the bargaining table. The point of Security Council action has always been to try to get to a negotiating track," she added.

The top American, Russian, German and EU diplomats discussed Iran 's compliance with a UN Security Council Resolution which demands halting enriching uranium.

Rice stressed the group took no decisions Thursday morning because the Iran report of the International Atomic Energy was due to be released later in the day.

The US official who attended the Mideast quartet meeting in Berlin on Wednesday, reiterated earlier Iran could pave the way for direct talks, if it stops its nuclear enrichment program.

She added Tehran had not acceded to the demands of the international community.

Rice said if Iran ceases uranium enrichment she would meet with her Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki 'anywhere he wants'.

The US official's remarks followed earlier statements by Tehran , stressing the peaceful nature of its civilian nuclear program.

As a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran has complied with rules and regulations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and opened its nuclear facilities to inspectors of the Vienna-based UN nuclear watchdog.

Iran 's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani said last week Tehran was ready to address the remaining concerns of western countries over its nuclear program.

"It is the political will of the government to have a negotiated settlement of this case ... through constructive dialogue," Larijani was quoted as saying at last weekend's high-profile Munich security conference.

Larijani told the security meeting that Tehran had the right to peaceful nuclear technology and that his country's uranium enrichment activities were solely aimed at research and development.

"In Iran 's national security doctrine there is no room for atomic and chemical weapons ...," added Larijani.

He stressed that 'irrational preconditions' such as western demands that Iran must suspend uranium enrichment before coming to the negotiating table, were a hindrance to resolving the nuclear dispute.

"This misguided approach has not solved the problem," the Iranian official stressed.