- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 18, 2006

TEHRAN — European powers, supported by the United States, rejected Iran’s request for more negotiations on the Islamic republic’s nuclear program, with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice saying yesterday “there’s not much to talk about” after Iran resumed atomic activities.

As European countries pushed ahead with efforts to have Iran brought before the U.N. Security Council for its nuclear activities, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused them of trying to deprive Iran of peaceful technology.

“We are asking they step down from their ivory towers and act with a little logic,” Mr. Ahmadinejad said. “Who are you to deprive us from fulfilling our goals?

“You think you are the lord of the world and everybody should follow you. But that idea is a wrong idea.”

In Vienna, Austria, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said a special meeting of its 35-nation board of governors would be held Feb. 2 at the request of Britain, France and Germany, which have been negotiating with Tehran on behalf of the European Union.

French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, speaking in Berlin after meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said European nations were seeking the “greatest possible consensus” on dealing with Iran.

Earlier, Iran’s foreign minister said he did not believe the country would be referred to the Security Council, which has the power to impose economic and political sanctions. China and Russia, two veto-wielding members, oppose referral.

Iran asked for a ministerial-level meeting with France, Germany, Britain and the European Union, but its decision to resume some uranium enrichment-related activities “means that it is not possible for us to meet under satisfactory conditions to pursue these discussions,” a French Foreign Ministry spokesman said in Paris. “Iran must return to a complete suspension of these activities.”

In London, the Foreign Office said Britain agreed with France and Germany in rejecting Iran’s overture. Britain believes “Iranian professions of continued interest in negotiations are … not credible,” a Foreign Office spokesman said.

In Washington, Miss Rice and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana also rejected any return to talks.

“There’s not much to talk about,” Miss Rice said at the State Department with Mr. Solana.

Miss Rice said Iran must not be allowed to have a nuclear weapons capability or “to pursue activities that might lead to a nuclear weapons capability.”

Later, during a speech at Georgetown University, Miss Rice said the international community was united in its belief that Iran “stepped over a line when it broke the seals” at its main uranium enrichment facility and resumed reprocessing nuclear fuel.

The Bush administration sent Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns to London to coordinate strategy with Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia on dealing with Iran. Mr. Burns conceded differences remained after Tuesday’s meeting.

“We reached a consensus on some points … others need to be worked on,” he said in Bombay during a tour of South Asia.

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