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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 March 2007, 09:26 GMT 10:26 UK
EU to seek new Iran nuclear talks
Arak heavy water production facility
Iran insists its nuclear programme is purely peaceful
The European Union's foreign policy chief is hoping to resume talks with Iran over its nuclear programme, a day after UN sanctions were stiffened.

Javier Solana said he would contact Ali Larijani, Iran's senior negotiator, in an effort to schedule new discussions.

Iran has denounced the Security Council decision to impose new sanctions over its refusal to stop nuclear enrichment.

Tehran said "pressure and intimidation" would not change its policy, which it says is for entirely peaceful purposes.

"I'm going to get in contact with Mr [Ali] Larijani this morning if I can to see if we can find a route that would allow us to go into negotiations," Mr Solana said in Berlin.

But the BBC's Frances Harrison, in Tehran, says Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was clear on Iran's position.

Mr Mottaki vowed that Iran would not return to talks unless the EU and US dropped demands for immediate suspension of enrichment.

Minister defiant

On Saturday, the Security Council unanimously agreed to widen sanctions imposed last year.

The new sanctions block Iranian arms exports and freeze assets of many involved in nuclear and missile work.

Iran does not seek confrontation nor does it want anything beyond its inalienable rights
Manouchehr Mottaki
Iranian foreign minister

Speaking to the Security Council after the vote, Mr Mottaki said Iran was not acting as an aggressor over the issue.

"Iran does not seek confrontation nor does it want anything beyond its inalienable rights," he said.

"I can assure you that pressure and intimidation will not change Iranian policy."

'Violation'

Mr Mottaki said that suspension was "neither an option or a solution".

"The Security Council's decision to try to coerce Iran into suspension of its peaceful nuclear programme is a gross violation" of the UN Charter.

The BBC's Laura Trevelyan at the UN said that the fact that the sanctions received unanimous backing was significant since it sent a message to Iran that it was being strongly censured over its nuclear plans.

We call upon Iran once again to comply fully with all its international obligations
Emyr Jones Parry, British UN ambassador

British ambassador to the UN Emyr Jones Parry said "the unanimous adoption of Security Council Resolution 1747 reflects the international community's profound concerns over Iran's nuclear programmes".

The six countries which drafted the resolution - the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany - spent Friday overcoming objections to some of the wording of the text from current Council members South Africa, Qatar and Indonesia.

"This resolution sends an unambiguous signal to the government and people of Iran... that the path of nuclear proliferation by Iran is not one that the international community can accept," Mr Jones Parry said after the vote.

President absent

Many countries, while supporting the resolution against Iran, warned of serious consequences given the already volatile situation in the region.

Iran has 60 days to comply with the resolution and suspend the uranium enrichment programme.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had said that he wanted to join the Security Council session in order to address members before they voted on the new sanctions.

However, he did not attend because, Iranian officials said, the US delayed issuing visas. The US say the visas were issued and the Iranian leader was looking for an excuse not to come.




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