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Annan Holds 'Good And Constructive' Talks In Iran

Annan Holds 'Good And Constructive' Talks In Iran With Senior Officials

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan held what he termed "very good and constructive" talks with Iranian leaders in Tehran today covering the nuclear issue and regional hotspots.

"I found the discussions helpful and it will come in handy as I move ahead with my work," Mr. Annan told reporters after meeting for an hour and a half with the Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Ali Larijani.

The Secretary-General characterized the discussions as "very good and constructive" and said they touched on "the nuclear issue as well as the many regional issues of concern to Iran and to the United Nations."

On 31 August, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) sent a new report on Iran to the UN Security Council, which has threatened sanctions if the country does not suspend uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities and take steps to assure the world that it is not developing nuclear arms.

Earlier this month, Mr. Annan appealed to Tehran to respond positively to an offer made by China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States, with the support of the European Union's High Representative.

The so-called "EU-3 plus 3" proposals, which were endorsed by the Council in its July resolution, envisage a long-term comprehensive arrangement which would allow for the development of relations with Iran based on mutual respect and the establishment of international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme.

Also speaking to the press today, Mr. Larijani agreed that the talks had been constructive and pledged to support Mr. Annan's efforts in this connection. "The best solution to this problem can be found through negotiation," he said, adding, "We need to have continuous consultations with the Secretary-General of the United Nations."

In an interview with Le Monde, Mr. Annan said he was in contact with all sides and emphas
conflict in a region that is already being subjected to a great deal of stress.

Earlier in the day, the Secretary-General met Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi and held talks with Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki. Their discussions covered implementation of Security Council resolution 1701, which ended the recent hostilities in Lebanon, as well as the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan, the nuclear issue and human rights.

During a subsequent meeting with the Chairman of the Expediency Council and former President, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the Secretary-General reviewed the outcome of his visits to Lebanon, Israel and Syria. Their discussions also dealt with the nuclear agenda and Iran's engagement with the international community, according to a spokesman traveling with the UN delegation.

The Secretary-General is expected to meet President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tomorrow morning.

Iran is the latest stop on a diplomatic tour that has taken Mr. Annan to Lebanon, Israel, Syria and Qatar.


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