AFP: Iran is at a "crucial point" in its stand-off with the UN's atomic watchdog, one of the country's most senior figures was quoted Wednesday as saying, as another official warned too much pressure could push nuclear activities "underground". "We should have patience and fortitude to pass through these tough times," former president and top regime cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was also quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.
AFP: German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer expressed "great concern" about Iran's nuclear technology programs but said he did not expect Western allies to go to war with Tehran over the issue.
"I do not think that we are heading anytime soon into a confrontation similar to the one in Iraq," Fischer told German news weekly Stern in an issue to be published Thursday.
AFP: President George W. Bush on Tuesday extended for one year a range of financial sanctions first imposed on Iran in November 1979, the White House announced in a statement.
"Our relations with Iran have not yet returned to normal," Bush said in a letter to the US House of Representatives.
AFP: An upcoming conference on Iraq will be a chance to talk with Iran about its nuclear program at a time of intense world pressure on Tehran to renounce nuclear military activity, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said here Tuesday.
The conference will be held at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, at the end of November, and Iran has been invited.
AFP: A top Iranian regime official has warned Britain, France and Germany that the Islamic republic could harden its stance if they failed to show flexibility in a crucial stage of talks over a nuclear stand-off, press reports said Tuesday. "If the Europeans are rational, we can make some assurances... but if they put their foot down, then our attitude will change," powerful former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was quoted as saying by the Hamshahri newspaper.
AFP: The United States is skeptical about the EU's efforts to cut a deal with Iran to get it to give up uranium enrichment that could be used to make nuclear weapons, a senior US official said here Tuesday.
Assistant Secretary of State for arms control Stephen Rademaker said the United States is "very sceptical of Iran's good faith in these negotiations."
Reuters: Iran says it is now able to manufacture large quantities of its medium-range Shahab-3 ballistic missile, which defence experts say is capable of hitting Israel or U.S. bases in the Gulf. "We have the capability to mass-produce Shahab-3 missiles," Defence Minister Ali Shamkhani told reporters on Tuesday. His comments, reported on several local news agencies, were confirmed by the Defence Ministry.
Human Rights Watch: The Iranian government is moving to silence Internet and Web-log communications, the last remaining outlet for freedom of expression in the country, Human Rights Watch said today. Many of Irans most high-profile civil society activists rely on the internet to get their message out.
New York Times: Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi of Iran on Monday praised the outcome of weekend talks with European negotiators, saying that a preliminary agreement had been reached to suspend Iran's production of enriched uranium immediately. But he emphasized that any suspension would be only temporary.
AFP: An Iraqi delegation is to deliver a written message from Iraq's leadership to Iranian President Mohammad Khatami during a visit here Tuesday, an Iraqi diplomat told AFP Monday, amid fresh complaints from Baghdad over alleged Iranian interference. Iraq's ambassador to Tehran, Mohammad Majid al-Sheikh, said the letter had been written by interim President Ghazi al-Yawar and interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, but ...
Reuters: The European Union's three big powers are "pretty close" to a deal with Iran that would freeze Tehran's nuclear fuel enrichment and reprocessing activities, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana has said. Solana told Reuters in an interview that if an agreement was reached there would be no reason to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council for sanctions over its disputed programme.
Washington Post: A European deal to freeze Iran's nuclear program, provide the Islamic republic with lucrative trade incentives and avoid sanctions by the U.N. Security Council could be signed by midweek if two critical issues can be quickly resolved, U.S., European and Iranian officials said in interviews Sunday. Iran has refused to accept a full suspension on all its nuclear-related work and wants a ...
AFP: Japan, whose business ties with Iran have caused US concern, will send a senior diplomat to Tehran to urge the country to follow IAEA demands it suspend uranium enrichment, officials said Monday.
Deputy foreign minister Hitoshi Tanaka will hold a one-day meeting with Iranian foreign ministry officials Tuesday.
New York Times: Iran has continued its crackdown on journalists, with two arrests in the past week, and has moved against pro-democracy Web sites, blocking hundreds of sites in recent months and making several arrests. Mahboubeh Abbas-Gholizadeh, the editor of the magazine Farzaneh and an advocate of expanded rights for women, was arrested Nov. 1 after she returned from London, where she had attended the European Social Forum.
Daily Telegraph: Iran appeared yesterday to have reached a tentative deal with Britain, France and Germany that would avert the threat of United Nations sanctions over its nuclear programme. The provisional agreement, hammered out during two days of talks in Paris, has still to be approved by Teheran's clerical leadership as well as by the European governments.
Miami Herald - Editorial: A round of talks that began Friday between Iranian diplomats and European officials represents the last chance to head off an escalating confrontation over that country's nuclear-weapons program. The heart of the problem lies in Iran's denial that it has such a program and Secretary of State Colin Powell's unequivocal affirmation to the contrary.