[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 December 2005, 18:20 GMT
Iran agrees to more nuclear talks
Javad Vaidi (L), head of the Iranian delegation, and Iran's chief delegate to the IAEA Mohammed Mehdi Akhounzadeh
Iran's delegation was positive at the end of the talks
Diplomats from Iran and three EU states say they have agreed to meet again in January after fresh talks in Vienna about Tehran's nuclear programme.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki had earlier reaffirmed his country's determination to enrich its own uranium.

The US and EU hope to persuade Iran to give up its ambitions to manufacture fuel suitable for use in nuclear bombs.

But their efforts have been hampered by poor relations in recent months.

'Open and frank negotiations'

"We agreed to continue our talks in January," Iranian Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Deputy for International Affairs Javad Vaidi said.

"Regarding the location, we have agreed on Vienna," he added.

France's representative at the talks, Stanislas Lefebvre de Laboulaye, said the sides "set out their positions in an open and frank manner."

"The two sides agreed to consult their respective leaderships with a view to holding another round of talks in January, with the aim of agreeing a framework for negotiations," he said.

Negotiations over the nuclear issue broke down in August, when Iran announced it would resume converting uranium into gas form.

Iran has insisted it has the inalienable right to resume conversion, and presents it as part of a peaceful civilian nuclear energy policy.

Anti-Israel remarks

The talks were also the first on the subject since a series of anti-Israeli comments by Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

September 2002: Work begins on Iran's first nuclear reactor at Bushehr
December 2002: Satellite photographs reveal nuclear sites at Arak and Natanz; Iran agrees to an IAEA inspection
September 2003: IAEA gives Iran weeks to prove it is not pursuing atomic weapons
November 2003: Iran suspends uranium enrichment and allows tougher inspections; IAEA says no proof of any weapons programme
June 2004: IAEA rebukes Iran for not fully co-operating with nuclear inquiry
November 2004: Iran suspends uranium enrichment as part of deal with EU
August 2005: Iran rejects EU proposals and resumes work at Isfahan nuclear plant

Mr Ahmadinejad's fierce anti-Israeli rhetoric has drawn condemnation from around the world.

He has described Israel as a "tumour" to be "wiped off the face of the map", and suggested that the country should relocate to Europe.

He has also publicly denied the Holocaust, calling it a "myth".

The remarks were condemned at the United Nations, and caused particular outrage in Germany.

The EU has also appeared to harden its tone towards Tehran, criticising Iran over its human rights record.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammed ElBaradei, has said that the world is losing patience with Iran over the nuclear issue.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific