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. Iran risks 'jeopardising' nuclear talks: France
PARIS (AFP) Dec 07, 2005
Recent statements by Iran risk jeopardising the planned resumption of international talks on Tehran's nuclear programme, the French foreign ministry warned on Wednesday.

"Through their statements and the conditions they are setting, the Iranian authorities risk jeopardising the possibility of finding a basis to resume negotiations," foreign ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei said.

On Monday, Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani reiterated that Tehran would not give up its nuclear fuel ambitions and dismissed calls for it to conduct sensitive enrichment work abroad.

"We regret the recent declarations by Dr Larijani suggesting that Iran could rapidly resume activities linked to centrifuges.

"Such activities, including research on centrifuges, would go against the repeated demands made by the board and the resolutions of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)," Mattei said.

Larijani's statement came a week after Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki announced that stalled talks with the European Union would resume within one to two weeks.

Britain, France and Germany -- backed by the United States -- argue that the only guarantee Iran will not use its atomic energy drive as a means to acquire the bomb is for the country to totally abandon uranium enrichment activities.

Iran has insisted that its nuclear program is merely designed to meet domestic energy needs, while the United States charges it is cover for a programme to develop an atomic bomb.

The EU-3 and Iran are expected to meet in the coming weeks, with the Europeans set to press a proposal from Moscow under which Iran's uranium would be enriched only on Russian soil.

If Iran refuses, the issue could be referred to the UN Security Council by the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which in September found Iran in non-compliance with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

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