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Archive for Saturday, March 4, 2006

Talks with Iran on nuclear program end without deal

March 4, 2006

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— Iran and the European Union inched toward a possible compromise Friday that diplomats said would allow Tehran to run a scaled-down uranium enrichment program despite its potential for misuse in building atomic weapons.

The meeting Friday ended without agreement, but the discussions were significant because the Europeans and the United States have for years opposed allowing Iran any kind of enrichment capability - a stance that Russia, China and other influential nations also have embraced.

Top European officials publicly described the talks in Vienna as failed because of Tehran's refusal to reimpose a freeze on enrichment. The board of the International Atomic Energy Agency is to revisit the issue beginning Monday.

"Unfortunately we were not able to reach an agreement," French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said, adding that the EU continued to demand "full and complete suspension" of uranium enrichment and related activities that have fed fears Iran may be pursuing nuclear arms.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the meeting ended "without achieving a result."

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