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EU hopeful after Iran nuclear talks in Rome

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EU hopeful after Iran nuclear talks in Rome

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The EU is hoping for further talks next month on Iran’s nuclear programme after what has been described as a constructive meeting in Rome. But the dialogue between Tehran’s new nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and EU envoy Javier Solana was overshadowed by a further rejection from President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad of calls to suspend uranium enrichment.

Jalili, accompanied by his predecessor Ali Larijiani, insisted Tehran supports dialogue with the West and saw the talks as an opportunity to forge better ties with Europe.

In London, flanked by Israeli Premier Ehud Olmert, the UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he would seek to tighten sanctions to discourage Iran: “We are absolutely clear that we are ready, and will push for, further sanctions against Iran. We will work through the United Nations to achieve this. We are prepared also to have tougher European sanctions.”

Iran’s refusal to halt work that can be used to make fuel for power plants or, as the West fears, material for warheads, has already prompted two sets of UN Security Council sanctions.