Nuclear talks between EU and Iran postponed

A meeting between Iran’s leading nuclear negotiator and the European Union’s foreign policy chief has been postponed, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said today.

A meeting between Iran’s leading nuclear negotiator and the European Union’s foreign policy chief has been postponed, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said today.

Ali Larijani and the EU’s Javier Solana were to meet on Thursday, possibly in Madrid, to explore whether there’s room to resume negotiations over Iran’s nuclear programme.

“Based on an agreement by both sides, the talks have been postponed,” said Mohammad Ali Hosseini, spokesman of Iran’s Foreign Ministry.

Hosseini did not elaborate or say why the meeting was postponed, but he did leave open the possibility of future talks.

“The two parties are reviewing the time and place of (future) negotiations,” he said during his weekly press briefing.

Iran and the West are on a stand off over Tehran’s controversial nuclear programme. Iran’s nuclear defiance – most recently documented in a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency that was sent to the UN Security Council - has set the stage for further sanctions against Tehran.

The Security Council has demanded Iran suspend uranium enrichment, which can produce both reactor fuel and – at higher levels – weapons-grade material. The Security Council first imposed sanctions on Iran on December 23 for rejecting its demands, then modestly increased them in March.

On Friday, senior European officials met with a ranking Iranian envoy in Brussels, Belgium to prepare for the Larijani-Solana talks. Officials suggested the meeting was positive in demonstrating a joint effort to try to return to negotiations over Iran’s enrichment program.

The US and allies contend Iran is secretly aiming to develop nuclear weapons. But Iran insists its nuclear program seeks only to develop energy.

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