No Iran nuclear talks ahead of informal deadline: diplomats

Michael Adler
VIENNA, June 27, 2006 (AFP) – Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani is not likely to meet EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana this week, despite an informal deadline of the end of month to respond to an offer of talks over its nuclear program, diplomats said Tuesday.

"There will be no Solana-Larijani meeting this week," a Western diplomat told AFP here. Other diplomats confirmed this, although refusing to rule out last-minute developments.

A second diplomat suggested any Solana-Larijani meeting would be "towards the end of the first week in July, or at the beginning of the second week in July."

"In any case, after the 29th," the diplomat said.

There had been speculation the two men would meet before June 29, the date by which Washington and other world powers had said Iran should say whether it is ready to suspend uranium enrichment.

Suspending this nuclear fuel work, which can also make atom bomb material, is the condition for multilateral talks on giving Iran a package of incentives in exchange for guarantees it will not make nuclear weapons.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appeared Tuesday to reject the proposal but US government spokesman Tony Snow said the United States would only recognize a formal answer given by Larijani to Solana.