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. EU-Iran talks on nuclear row within weeks: Solana
BRUSSELS, May 7 (AFP) May 07, 2007
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said Monday he plans fresh talks with Iran's top security official in the next few weeks to discuss a UN demand that Tehran freeze uranium enrichment.

"Probably we will have a meeting with (Ali) Larijani in the coming weeks, as soon as possible to see if we can move on," Solana told the European Parliament's foreign affairs committee in Brussels.

He added that it would be difficult to organise such a meeting this week.

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in Stockholm he was "optimistic" about talks which could be expected "from this week." He didn't say when or where or what would be on the table.

Following their last meeting in Ankara on April 25-26, Larijani and Solana agreed to meet two weeks later, without specifying a date or venue.

Solana told the parliamentarians that the Ankara talks, their first since the UN Security Council adopted sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear ambitions, did not lead to "any specific breakthrough."

Solana said that he had stressed that Tehran should suspend its uranium enrichment operations for the duration of the full-scale international negotiations with Iran.

At the moment even that guarantee is very difficult to obtain; "they don't want to suspend," he said.

The United States has charged that Iran is using its nuclear programme to secretly develop an atomic bomb, a claim Tehran denies maintaining its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes.

Solana said the international talks on resolving the problem, involving Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia and the United States could take place with a double suspension; of Iran's nuclear enrichment and of the UN sanctions.

Such talks shouldn't carry on indefinitely but should take around six months, he added.

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