Western leaders are taking stock of future relations with Iran following the election of the conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president.
He has promised to create of moderate leadership but the US and EU have expressed concerns, particularly over Iran’s nuclear programme. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has said Brussels should put forward new proposals to resolve the dispute with Iran over its plans to operate a nuclear power station. The West fears it could be used to develop atomic weapons, though Iran strongly denies this. German, France and Britain are leading negotiations with Tehran over the issue. Ahmadinejad said he would press ahead with the programme but would not abandon talks with the EU. US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has voiced stronger misgivings about Iran’s new leader, describing him as “no friend of democracy.” Washington wants Iran referred to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions claiming it has persistently tried to mislead the international community over its intentions.