Iran wants talks, under spectre of possible war

Last Updated: Sunday, February 19, 2012 - 23:51

Tehran: Iran is to host a high-level team
from the UN nuclear watchdog on Monday as part of efforts to
defuse dire international tensions over its atomic activities
through dialogue.

But other words being spoken in Israel, the United States
and Britain -- and Iran`s defiant moves to boost its nuclear
activities -- underlined the prospect of possible Israeli
military action against the Islamic republic.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on Sunday said his
country was keen to quickly resume mooted talks with world
powers, once a place and date were agreed.

The last talks collapsed in Istanbul in January 2011, but
Iran has responded positively to an EU offer to look at
reviving them.

"We are looking for a mechanism for a solution for the
nuclear issue in a way that it is win-win for both sides,"
Salehi said.

But he added that Iran remained prepared for a "worst-case
scenario."

Such a scenario -- war -- remained very much the subtext
of a visit to Israel today by US National Security Advisor Tom
Donilon.

Israel has been gripped by feverish speculation in recent
weeks that it is closer to mounting a pre-emptive strike on
Iran`s nuclear programme, though Tel Aviv has denied reaching
such a decision.

Israel`s calculations will have taken into account an
announcement by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last
Tuesday that his scientists were boosting uranium enrichment,
notably by adding 3,000 more centrifuges to a facility at
Natanz.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, February 19, 2012 - 23:51

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