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Last Updated: Friday, 26 August 2005, 11:58 GMT 12:58 UK
Iran negotiator meets IAEA chief
Ali Larijani
Iran's Ali Larijani has promised new proposals for talks
UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei has met Iran's new chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani for the first time.

Mr Larijani said after the talks that Tehran would come up with new proposals for talks with the EU within a month.

The meeting comes as European efforts to dissuade Iran from pursuing a nuclear programme remain stalled.

Iran recently resumed uranium enrichment at one of its plants despite strong US and European opposition.

The US has accused Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, but Iran says its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes only.

On Wednesday, the US criticised an independent investigation which found no evidence that Iran was working on a secret nuclear weapons programme.

The report said traces of bomb-grade uranium in Iran's nuclear facilities came from contaminated Pakistani equipment, not Iranian activities - backing up Tehran's position.

Short notice

The talks between Mr Larijani and Mr ElBaradei come after the IAEA adopted a resolution calling on Iran to halt the uranium conversion work which it has resumed after a 10-month suspension.

The resolution asked Mr ElBaradei to report on Iran's compliance by 3 September.

Isfahan plant
Iran resumed uranium conversion despite international pressure
The Associated Press news agency says Friday's talks appear to have been decided recently as Mr ElBaradei's planned meeting in Copenhagen on Thursday was cancelled at short notice.

The two men will discuss "issues related to... IAEA safeguards inspections and the current state of play," said IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming.

By resuming its nuclear work, Tehran turned down an offer of economic incentives by the trio of negotiators, France, Britain and Germany.

The three EU countries responded by calling off talks with Iran that were scheduled for 31 August, and have threatened to bring the case before the UN Security Council to seek sanctions.

Tactics

Mr Larijani - a conservative recently appointed to the post by new hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - has called for other countries to join negotiations.

He said Iran would welcome talks with all 35 members of the IAEA board of governors, whether they are European countries or members of the Non-Aligned Movement, a bloc of 116 mainly developing nations.

The US state department dismissed his call as a "typical tactic of the Iranian government designed to change the subject."

Britain's Foreign Office said there was "no basis for negotiation with Iran until they respond" to the IAEA resolution.


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