EU’s Solana says will meet with Iran’s top nuclear negotiator

BRUSSELS, October 3 (RIA Novosti) – European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said Wednesday he intends to meet with Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani in the near future.

Speaking to EU lawmakers at the European Parliament, Solana said it is necessary to give Iran a signal because time is limited and reiterated his hope that the dispute over Iran’s nuclear issue could be resolved by diplomatic means.

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In mid-September the six countries involved in talks to persuade Iran to drop uranium enrichment delayed a vote on a new set of sanctions against the Islamic Republic by November. The vote was postponed pending reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Solana.

The six nations involved in talks are the five permanent Security Council members: China, the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom and France plus Germany.

The U.S. and France have urged tougher punishments for Iran, which is suspected of pursuing a covert nuclear weapons program. Tehran insists it needs its own nuclear fuel for power generation, and wants to be independent from foreign supplies.

Iran has defied three consecutive UN resolutions against its nuclear program since last year and has called two previously-imposed rounds of sanctions illegal.

However, since early-summer talks between Larijani and IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei, Tehran has allowed two inspections of its 40-MW heavy water nuclear reactor in Arak, potentially able to produce weapons-grade plutonium. Permission came despite Iran’s denial of access to the site following the second set of sanctions in March.