Iranian nuclear negotiator postpones Pakistan visit
ISLAMABAD (AFP) Sep 05, 2005
Iran's top nuclear negotiator has delayed a planned visit to Pakistan, Islamabad said Monday, amid fresh international criticism of Tehran and threats to refer the issue to the UN Security Council.
Ali Larijani was supposed to arrive in Islamabad on Monday where he was due to meet Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri and possibly President Pervez Musharraf.
"The visit has been rescheduled and he is expected to visit shortly," Pakistani foreign ministry spokesman Naeem Khan told a weekly briefing. "The visit was basically at the request of the Iranian side."
The postponment comes three days after the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohammed ElBaradei, issued a tough report that showed Iran failing to meet demands for cessation of all nuclear fuel activities.
The report also said Iran had failed to resolve, despite two and a half years of IAEA investigations, critical questions about work with both uranium and plutonium -- the two raw materials for making atom bombs.
Khan said Iranian officials wished to inform Pakistan about their discussions with the IAEA and with Britain, France and Germany -- the so-called EU-3 with whom Iran agreed last November to suspend uranium enrichment-related work.
He dismissed speculation that Larijani postponed his visit to express anger over a meeting between the Pakistani and Israeli foreign ministers in Istanbul last week.
"Not at all," he said. "There were some technical difficulties coming their way and there was some last-minute commitment and they requested for the rescheduling of the visit."
Pakistan's name has figured in the UN nuclear watchdog's investigation of Iran's atomic fuel reactor program, amid US allegations that Tehran is secretly trying to build nuclear weapons.
Nuclear-armed Pakistan in May sent parts from used nuclear centrifuges to the IAEA to allow the agency to compare microscopic traces of uranium on them with those found on devices in Iran.
Last month the IAEA confirmed the particles found at a key nuclear site in Iran were from Pakistani centrifuges, which were passed to Tehran by disgraced Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan.
The foreign ministry spokesman said Pakistan would not support punitive measures against Iran over the nuclear row.
"Our position on the Iranian nuclear issue has been very clear, we have been supporting a peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue," he said.All rights reserved. © 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.