Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

China trade deal: Is Taiwan's identity under threat?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Call it a caretaker government'

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria's Battles

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria's Battles (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Pornography without borders is key benefit of EU, says French MEP

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Google Glass sale a test of consumer interest

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Back to the future

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Over 70 killed in Nigeria bus station terror attack

Read more

ENCORE!

“Booty Looting” memory and mediums

Read more

  • Rescue effort under way as ferry sinks off S. Korean coast

    Read more

  • Putin says Ukraine 'on brink of war' as Kiev evicts separatists

    Read more

  • Syria 'torture' photos silence UN Security Council members

    Read more

  • Paris laboratory loses deadly SARS virus samples

    Read more

  • More than 100 schoolgirls kidnapped in northeast Nigeria

    Read more

  • New York police disband unit targeting Muslims

    Read more

  • 'Miracle girl' healthy after seven-organ transplant in Paris

    Read more

  • Paris police memo calling for Roma eviction ‘rectified’

    Read more

  • Burgundy digs into France's bureaucratic 'mille-feuille'

    Read more

  • French court drops ‘hate speech’ case against Bob Dylan

    Read more

  • Algeria rights crackdown slammed ahead of election

    Read more

  • Iraq closes notorious Abu Ghraib jail over security fears

    Read more

  • Berlusconi sentenced to community service for tax fraud

    Read more

  • In ‘Tom at the Farm’, Xavier Dolan blends Hitchcock and homoeroticism

    Read more

  • US to mark one year since Boston Marathon bombing

    Read more

  • India's Supreme Court establishes third gender category

    Read more

  • Bluefin-21 'mini-sub' redeploys for Malaysian jet

    Read more

  • Paris hotel that hosted Holocaust survivors shuts for renovation

    Read more

  • French police begin mass DNA test in hunt for school rapist

    Read more

  • Guardian, Washington Post win Pulitzers for NSA revelations

    Read more

  • France looks to lift ailing economy with business-friendly diplomacy

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Israel confirms September talks with Iran; Tehran denies meeting

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-10-22

A senior Israeli official said Israeli and Iranian atomic experts held meetings to discuss nuclear issues in Cairo last month, but Iran has denied ever holding nuclear talks with Tel Aviv.

AFP - Israel said Thursday that its atomic expert met an Iranian official over the chances of declaring the Middle East a nuclear-free zone, in the first direct talks between the archfoes in 30 years.

The spokeswoman for Israel's Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) Yael Doron told AFP the commission's representative had held several meetings with an Iranian official "in a regional context" and under Australia's auspices.

Iran denied that it had held any nuclear talks with the Jewish state.

Doron declined to give details of the meetings, but the Haaretz daily said the officials discussed the chances of declaring the Middle East a nuclear-free zone during the talks in September, the first between the two archfoes to be officially disclosed since the shah of Iran was deposed in 1979.

Haaretz said Meirav Zafary-Odiz, IAEC director of policy and arms control, and Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA,) met several times in Cairo at the end of September.

Also at the meeting were representatives of the Arab League, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Saudia Arabia, as well as European and US officials, the daily said.

It said the meeting was held under the auspices of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation set up at the initiative of Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Iran's state television website dismissed the reports.

"This lie is a kind of psychological operation designed to affect the constant success of Iran's dynamic diplomacy in the Geneva and Vienna meetings," atomic organisation spokesman Ali Shirzadian was quoted as saying.

He was referring to talks in the two capitals in recent weeks between Iran and six world powers on the Islamic republic's controversial nuclear enrichment programme.

Israel, the sole if undeclared nuclear-armed state in the Middle East, has never ruled out a resort to military action to stop Iran's nuclear drive which the West suspects is aimed at making nuclear weapons but Tehran insists is only for peaceful ends.

At one of the Cairo meetings, Soltanieh asked Zafary-Odiz: "Do you or do you not have nuclear weapons," Haaretz said, citing unnamed participants in the meeting. The Israeli smiled but did not respond, the daily said.

Soltanieh said Iran was not seeking nuclear weapons and did not endanger Israel. He insisted Tehran did not hate Jews, though it opposes Zionism, the daily said.

Israel considers Iran its greatest strategic threat after repeated statements by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the Holocaust was a "myth" and that Israel was doomed to be "wiped off the map."

The announcement of the Cairo meeting came after the UN atomic watchdog on Wednesday handed Iran and world powers a draft deal that could dramatically ease tensions over Tehran's controversial nuclear programme.

The agreement was brokered after crunch talks in Vienna between Iran, Russia, the United States and France, according to the UN nuclear watchdog.

Diplomats said the document included demands that Iran ship out most of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium for further processing by another country.

The United States, Russia and France had insisted on the point, because it would allay fears that the uranium -- which Iran's hardline rulers have produced in defiance of the United Nations -- could be used to build an atomic bomb.

Israeli officials remained sceptical.

"The Iranians are more sophisticated than we are accustomed to think," the Yediot Aharonot daily quoted Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai as saying.  "We must make sure that this is not a manoeuvre to gain time."

"I am not underestimating the agreement, but we need to concentrate the pressure and keep it up at full intensity. Our goal is to neutralise Iran's ability to obtain nuclear weapons," he added.

 

Date created : 2009-10-22

  • IRAN

    Nuclear talks are 'making progress', IAEA chief ElBaradei says

    Read more

  • IRAN

    Uranium talks 'off to good start' in Vienna

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)