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Iran talks bring no breakthrough


International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
European Union
Moscow (Russia)

VIENNA, Austria (CNN) -- Talks between Iran's top nuclear negotiator and key European foreign ministers ended Friday without a breakthrough on Tehran's nuclear ambitions, European officials said.

"For us a precondition for constructing confidence, which is what is necessary now, is for them (Iran) to resume stopping all the enrichment activities," EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana said. "Unfortunately, we have not been able to reach agreement today.

"We thought we should have been able to but it has been impossible to do it."

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the talks were held in a "very constructive atmosphere" and he remained hopeful that Tehran "will take the necessary steps for confidence-building measures in order to continue the dialogue which we all very much want."

No other talks are scheduled before Monday's meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors, which is expected to refer the matter to the U.N. Security Council, according to German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Andrea Berdesinski.

A British official in Vienna told CNN that Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, offered nothing new during the session, and that the European delegation reminded him that Tehran must stop uranium enrichment on its soil and come clean about its program.

However, Iran's state-run news agency, IRNA, cast a more positive light on the talks.

Quoting Javad Vaeedi, the deputy head for international affairs of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, the IRNA report said both sides "reached the required agreements on the need for solving Iran's nuclear case at the (IAEA)."

Vaeedi also noted that "Iran and Europe agreed on some points, although there were disagreements, as well," IRNA reported.

Meanwhile Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, wrapping up a visit to Malaysia on Friday, accused international bodies of bias.

"Regrettably, most international organizations have turned into political organizations and the influence of great powers prevents them from taking fair and legally sound decisions," Ahmadinejad said in a speech quoted by Reuters.

"The IAEA's (International Atomic Energy Agency's) treatment of the Islamic Republic of Iran is politically motivated," he said.

The Vienna meeting involved Solana, Larijani and the foreign ministers of Britain, Germany and France, the "EU3" that has been working to break the impasse over Iran's nuclear program.

Larijani had requested the session after meeting in Moscow with officials about a Russian proposal to enrich uranium for Tehran inside Russia, provided Iran cease enrichment activities inside its own borders.

Ahead of Friday's meeting with the EU3, Larijani said Tehran strongly opposes any attempt by the IAEA to refer Iran's nuclear ambitions to the U.N. Security Council, which could impose sanctions.

The IAEA's board of governors is to meet Monday on whether to do just that. In a resolution last month, the IAEA's board of governors voted to report Iran's nuclear activities to the council for possible sanctions.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday that global powers did not have an agreed action plan in the event that the Iranian nuclear issue was handed over to the U.N. Security Council.

"There is no collectively discussed and agreed strategy of what we all will be doing in the Security Council if the issue is there," Lavrov told foreign reporters.

He warned that referring the Iranian nuclear dossier to the Security Council would lead to a steady escalation of the crisis.

"An enforcement scenario isn't acceptable both for the Iranian situation itself, or for the situation in the region," Lavrov said, according to The Associated Press.

In Washington on Thursday, State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said the United States would be closely monitoring Friday's talks, but he doubted Iran would propose anything new.

"Is Iran going to suspend enrichment activity? Is Iran going to return to the negotiations?" Ereli said. "Or is Iran going to continue, as we think they have, to stall and prevaricate and extend things in a meaningless way in order to avoid censure?"

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, but the West, particularly the United States, charges that Tehran's nuclear power program is simply a front for a nuclear weapons program.

At a news conference during a surprise visit to Afghanistan Wednesday, U.S. President George W. Bush said Iran "must not have a nuclear weapon."

"The most destabilizing thing that can happen is for Iran to have a nuclear weapon," he said. "We will work with friends and allies to convince them not to."

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