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EU Receives First Reaction To Iran Nuclear Offer

Solana (right) and Larijani in Tehran on June 6 (Fars) BRUSSELS, June 14, 2006 (RFE./RL) -- EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier  Solana said today he held phone talks with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani.

The talks were the first after Solana traveled to Tehran last week with a U.S.-backed package of incentives, and possible sanctions, to persuade Iran to give up uranium enrichment.

"I don't think that I [disclose] any secret if I say that I had a conversation today with Dr Larijani on the phone, [a] constructive conversation that will be followed by others," Solana said. "As I told you some days ago, we intend[ed] to have contact before the weekend, and we did. That's [all that] I can say at this point in time."

Solana will brief EU leaders on the talks at the upcoming EU summit.

The European Union is also expecting feedback from meetings expected to take place between Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and Russian and Chinese leaders later this week in Shanghai, where he is attending a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as an observer.

Talking Technical

Talking Technical

A control panel at the Bushehr nuclear power plant (Fars)

CASCADES AND CENTRIFUGES: Experts and pundits alike continue to debate the goals and status of Iran's nuclear program. It remains unclear whether the program is, as Tehran insists, a purely peaceful enegy project or, as the United States claims, part of an effort to acquire nuclear weapons.
On June 7, 2006, RFE/RL correspondent Charles Recknagel spoke with nuclear expert Shannon Kile of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in Sweden to help sort through some of the technical issues involved. "[Natanz] will be quite a large plant," Kile said. "There will be about 50,000 centrifuges and how much enriched uranium that can produce [is] hard to say because the efficiency of the centrifuges is not really known yet. But it would clearly be enough to be able to produce enough [highly-enriched uranium] for a nuclear weapon in fairly short order, if that's the route that they chose to go...." (more)


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THE COMPLETE STORY: RFE/RL's complete coverage of controversy surrounding Iran's nuclear program.


An annotated timeline of Iran's nuclear program.