Iran appeals for multilateralism to prevail at IAEA meet
TEHRAN (AFP) Nov 23, 2003
Iran on Sunday appealed for multilateralism to prevail as the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) board of governors remained locked in talks on how to address the Islamic republic's nuclear programme.

"We hope that the approach based on multilateralism, reality and logic wins over," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters.

"The other approach is being pursued by the US and two or three other countries, and that is not based on realities," he added.

An IAEA meeting in Vienna was adjourned Friday until Wednesday after the United States and Europe's big three -- Britain, France and Germany --- failed in two days of closed-door talks to agree on a resolution on Iran.

The United States, which has labeled Iran part of an "axis of evil" of countries trying to make nuclear weapons, wants the IAEA to declare Iran in "non-compliance" with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

But at the meeting of the IAEA's 35-nation board of governors, Britain, France and Germany presented a draft resolution that goes easy on Iran, a step they see as crucial to avoid antagonising hardliners in the Islamic republic.

Asefi played up Iran's ties with the European three, who sent their foreign ministers here in October to secure Iranian compliance with IAEA demands.

"We have entered a new phase in our relations with the Europeans. We are very hopeful for our relations with the Europeans," the spokesman said.

Meanwhile Iran's representative to the IAEA, Ali Akbar Salehi, asserted that the United States was now finding itself "isolated" in Vienna.

"The US is isolated in its pursuit of taking Iran's case to the UN Security Council and declare Iran in 'non-compliance' with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty," he told the student news agency ISNA.

Senior Iranian officials had warned that if the United States got its way at the meeting and another tough resolution was passed, the country could review its current efforts to cooperate with the IAEA.