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. Iran says nuclear talks with EU are on track
TEHRAN (AFP) Jan 01, 2005
Iran's top nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani said Saturday that negotiations with the Europeans aimed at easing international concerns over the Islamic republic's nuclear programme were on the right track.

But Rowhani nevertheless said he was disappointed that one promised incentive -- Iran's accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) -- had failed to materialise despite EU support.

"As part of their commitments, the Europeans were supposed to support Iran's membership of the WTO, which they did. But we feel the Europeans did not support Iran enough. They have to get Iran become a member," he told state television.

Under an agreement negotiated in Paris in November, Iran agreed to suspend all uranium enrichment activities in order to escape the threat of being referred to the UN Security Council by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

In return for "objective guarantees" that Iran would not develop nuclear weapons, the three principal EU powers offered Tehran a range of trade, technology and security rewards.

While the United States again blocked Iran's entry into the WTO, Iran has gained membership of the IAEA's fuel cycle group, something noted by Rowhani.

"The negotiations on a trade agreement are supposed to start by mid January and they will start," he said, adding the "since the Paris accord we can conclude the Europeans have tried to meet their commitments."

Britain, France and Germany have agreed to supply Iran with a small research reactor, and Rowhani confirmed an EU team would be in the country shortly for talks on this technology.

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