Germany-Iran talks, appeal on nuclear issue

Other News Materials 16 September 2008 00:32 (UTC +04:00)

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier opened talks in Berlin Monday with his Iranian counterpart, Manouchehr Mottaki, with nuclear issues on the agenda.

The atmosphere seemed cool as the two men briefly posed for pictures before the talks. No public appearance was scheduled afterwards. A German spokesman said ahead of the meeting in Berlin that Mottaki had asked for the talks.

Steinmeier would appeal to Tehran to make a constructive response to an offer made in June by world powers over Iran's controversial nuclear programme, the spokesman added.

"Our offer is on the table. We hope Iran will give a constructive answer," Jens Ploetner said.

About 50 members of the banned Iranian opposition group National Resistance Council demonstrated outside the Foreign Ministry in Berlin against the visit.

Mottaki charged that their organization had conducted terrorist attacks and said its members should be arrested and put on trial by the international criminal court.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has recently reported that Iran is continuing to enrich uranium, despite sanctions and condemnation by the UN Security Council.

The IAEA said hundreds of new centrifuges had been set up at the development site in Natan since May. Western nations suspect Iran is developing nuclear weapons.

The European Union's foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Saeid Jalili, have met over the dispute.

Steinmeier would underline how serious the issue was for the European Union and for other powers participating in attempts to compel Iran to abandon aspects of its programme, in particular the enriching of uranium.

"Our offer is serious," Ploetner said, adding that if there was no positive response from Tehran, the alternative was further action through the UN security council.

Germany has joined the five permanent members of the security council in so-called E3+3 talks with Tehran.

The world powers have offered Tehran comprehensive economic and political cooperation, including providing it with nuclear fuel for its planned power stations, in return for a halt to what they see as Iranian moves towards making nuclear weapons, dpa reported.