Iran, France skeptical about fresh nuclear talks | News | DW | 07.03.2012
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Iran, France skeptical about fresh nuclear talks

A day after six world powers agreed to resume talks with Tehran on its controversial nuclear program, key figures on both sides have expressed skepticism about their chances of success.

Less than 24 hours after the European Union agreed to resume talks with Tehran on Iran's disputed nuclear program, two of the main players expressed skepticism about the likelihood of a positive outcome.

"If they (world powers) want to continue their previous course or get some advantages by threats, then the talks will lead to no achievements," Ali Larijani, the speaker of the Iranian parliament said in an interview with the country's official news agency.

This comment, made by the man who was Iran's chief nuclear negotiator from 2005 to 2007, is seen as an indication that Tehran still has no intention of complying with the six powers' key demand that it suspend all uranium enrichment activities.

Larijani also accused them of employing a double standard for failing to insist that countries like Israel, whose undeclared nuclear weapons stash is regarded as common knowledge, cooperate with international organizations.

"The world powers know well that Iran is not after nuclear weapons and even say that Iran has no such weapons, but they still put on the pressure," Larijani said.

French skepticism

Meanwhile French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said he was not convinced about the negotiations' chances of success either.

"I am a little skeptical… I think Iran continues to be two-faced," Juppe said in an interview with French broadcaster i-Tele.

Despite his apparent pessimism, Juppe said France was keen to restart the negotiations as way of keeping the dispute on a diplomatic track.

"There is still a debate in Israel (about whether to launch military strikes against Iran) and it's our responsibility to bring to Israel's attention the unforeseeable consequences this would have," Juppe said.

The European Union's foreign policy coordinator, Catherine Ashton, announced on Tuesday that the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany had accepted Iran's offer to resume talks on its nuclear program more than a year after negotiations has broken down.

The international community fears Iran may be using its nuclear program to try to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran insists that it is using the program for peaceful purposes only.

pfd/acb (Reuters, dpa)