Facing stranded nuclear talks, Iran has strengthened efforts to accelerate the talks with the European Union (EU) in a bid to find an early settlement.
Gholam-Reza Aqazadeh, vice president of the Islamic republic and head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), visited Europe to promote a speedup in the ongoing negotiations.
Aqazadeh started the first state-level official visit to Europe as the negotiations had been reportedly stranded and top US officials tuned up verbal attack against Iran in January.
Aqazadeh urged the EU on Tuesday to speed up the talks and take them seriously, warning a slow pace would harm both sides.
Last Saturday, Iranian Supreme Leader Seyyed Ali Khamenei warned a retreat on Iran's part from the current stance on its nuclear cooperation, complaining the Europeans were "not serious" about the talks.
Khamenei's message was footnoted by Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi, who said the leader meant the process could not continue "with Europe wasting time."
Aqazadeh, upon his departure on Monday, said the current process of nuclear negotiations did not meet the expectations of Iran.
Mohammad Saeidi, Aqazadeh's assistant, argued Wednesday in Brussels that the EU and Tehran were optimistic over the talks, but said that more importantly, an acceleration was necessary for both sides.
"Under the EU-Iranian agreement (in Paris), there is an item that says both sides should provide the results of their discussion in March," Saeidi said.
On the same day, Majlis (parliament) Speaker Gholamali Haddad Adel, representative of ultra-conservatives of the country, warned that Iran reserves the right to take strong and appropriate actions if the Europeans resort to delaying tactics.
Hossein Mousavian, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council's Foreign Policy Committee and a top nuclear negotiator, said Thursday in an interview with the London-based Financial Times that the talks in question so far did "not indicate serious determination of Europeans to achieve any results quickly."
Indeed, Iran's dissatisfaction over the pace of the negotiations is not new at all. However, such a unified stance repeatedly stated by senior officials actually indicated Tehran had become unusually impatient about the EU's delay of delivering on its promises.
However, it seemed Aqazadeh's visit yielded no substantial fruits as expected, and the EU, brokering between Washington and Tehran, responded cautiously.
During talks with Aqazadeh, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana urged Iran to provide objective guarantees of its claimed peaceful nature of nuclear programs, which could be viewed as a precondition of the EU's consideration of Iran's request.
Solana's spokesperson Cristina Gallach then made a neutral comment that the EU was willing to maintain the line of dialogue in order to reach conclusions but these are very complex issues needed to be observed "with great details," a euphemism of no haste.
(Xinhua News Agency February 5, 2005)