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Talks in Vienna: "Very hard to see where the common ground will be"

Professor Dr. Harald Müller in an interview with DW-RADIO's English Service

In an interview with DW-RADIO's English Service Professor Dr. Harald Müller of the "Hessische Stiftung Friedens- und Konfliktforschung", says it "is very hard to see where the common ground will be" at the talks in Vienna between Iran and the EU3, Britain, France and Germany. The talks are exploring whether there is any basis for resuming negotiations on the future of Iran' nuclear activity.

Dr Müller urges caution when interpreting recent remarks by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad about Israel and the Holocaust. "The president while he has been elected by a sizeable majority is not really Iran. We see cracks in the Iranian elite, notably between Mr Rafsanjani, the main rival for the presidency, and Mr Ahmadinejad, the president. Mr Rafsanjani is still the head of the supervisory council, that is capable of declaring regulations by the government as invalid. It is a power position and the two men clearly see these things in a different way. So the best hope the Europeans have is to work on that split in the Iranian elite."

Dr Müller says Europe must be prepared to adopt a tougher stance towards Iran's nuclear ambitions. "If Iran is really pushing forward with this and if the flamboyant speeches of Mr Ahmadinejad are complemented by practical attacks, by expansionary policies, I am afraid that we have no other option other than to think about sanctions to add to the European bargaining power."

21 December 2005

Christoph Jumpelt

Christoph Jumpelt

Head of Corporate Communications and Spokesperson

T. +49.228.429-2041