Former head of Iran’s team of nuclear negotiators Ali Larijani said that “new and constructive ideas” had emerged during talks in Rome on Tehran’s nuclear program.
“New and constructive ideas were advanced that could lead to later progress,” Larijani told reporters following more than two hours of talks with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.
Larijani said, “We are at a very intense period of time” leading up to reports by both Solana and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to the UN Security Council next month.
“It’s a phase that should be fully exploited.”
IAEA inspectors “are in Tehran and are carrying out their duties and negotiations,” Larijani said.
Larijani took part in the talks in Rome even though he resigned on Saturday, to be replaced by Saeed Jalili, who was also present at the news conference.
Larijani and Jalili had what both sides termed “constructive” talks with Solana on Tuesday.
Prodi and his Foreign Minister Massimo D’Alema have both spoken out strongly in favor of negotiations with Tehran.
Speaking at Wednesday’s news conference, Prodi said, “Italy encourages this dialogue as the only tool for finding a solution at the Security Council.”
He described the talks with Larijani and Jalili as “extremely important and useful.”
Solana is to present a report in November to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States) and Germany on his discussions with Iran.
The Security Council has passed two resolutions imposing sanctions on Iran, and Washington is seeking a third over Tehran’s refusal to suspend its uranium enrichment program.
Western powers accuse Iran of running a covert nuclear weapons program, but they have never presented any corroborative proof or evidence to substantiate their allegations. Tehran insists it is solely interested in the civilian use of the nuclear technology, including generation of electricity. Reports given out by the UN nuclear watchdog agency have so far supported Iran’s claims, saying that inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have never witnessed non-peaceful drive or move in Iran’s nuclear programs and activities.
The talks in Rome had been scheduled before the announcement of Larijani’s resignation.