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France tells Iran: suspension first, talks later

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France tells Iran: suspension first, talks later


Talks proposed by Iran over the West’s package of nuclear measures cannot take place until Tehran freezes its enrichment programme, according to France. The diplomatic chess between the West and Iran over its nuclear programme continues after yesterday’s lengthy response from Tehran that may include indications it will consider suspension.

Iran’s chief negotiator Ali Larijani presented the document to diplomats from Britain, France, Russia, China, Germany and Switzerland, which has represented US interests in Tehran since 1981. Iran announced on Wednesday it would activate its heavy water plant at Arak sometime in the near future.

However, several unidentified officials reportedly believe Iran is willing to consider halting its uranium enrichment programme but not as a precondition for the talks. Analysts say Iran’s answer is designed to divide Security Council members Russia and China – which have extensive economic ties with Tehran – from the US, France and Britain, which back possible UN sanctions.

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