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. Iranian negotiator predicts 'new dynamism' in nuclear negotiations
PARIS (AFP) Feb 24, 2005
Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Hassan Rowhani, Thursday predicted a "new dynamism" in negotiations with Europe on Tehran's nuclear programme, following talks with French President Jacques Chirac.

"We believe that our talks with President Chirac will allow us to bring a new dynamism to the negotiations," Rowhani told journalists after a 75-minute meeting with Chirac and Foreign Minister Michel Barnier at the presidential Elysee Palace.

Rowhani said Chirac had not given him any message from US President George W. Bush, who said in Bratislava Thursday he was hopeful a diplomatic solution can be reached over Iran's nuclear program "However we talked about a certain number of points which had been raised between President Chirac and Mr Bush," he said.

Washington has alleged that Iran is seeking to build nuclear weapons, a charge that Tehran vehemently denies, saying that its nuclear programme is completely peaceful.

Rowhani emphasised that "until now our main partners are the three European countries in the negotiating group. Earlier Tehran rejected the idea that the United States be associated with the negotiations with Europe.

EU nations led by France, Britain and Germany have been pursuing the carrot rather than the stick approach, by seeking to persuade Iran to comply with its international obligations in return for a lucrative package of trade deals.

Chirac's spokesperson Jerome Bonnafont said: "Iran must give objective guarantees assuring that its nuclear programme has no military purpose."

"We hope to achieve this result through global dialogue with Iran," he added.

All Europeans "approve of the choice of dialogue and negotiation," said Bonnafont, adding that the negotiations had been conducted "in total transparence with the United States in liason with China and Russia."

"If these objective guarantees were given, Iran could benefit on the one hand from a cooperation in the area of nuclear energy for civilian purposes and on the other from an economic and commercial co-operation and finally a political dialogue and safety."

Chirac had called on Tuesday for a sign to be sent to Iran as part of the negotiations, focusing for example on its desire to join the World Trade Organisation or to obtain civilian aircraft engines.

After Paris, Rowhani is to travel on to Berlin and London, to meet the other key players in the European Union's ongoing negotiations aimed at convincing Tehran to definitively abandon its uranium enrichment programme, which can be a key step to developing nuclear weapons.

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