London, Asharq Al-Awsat- With the UN General Assembly meeting that will take place in New York between 15 – 30 September fast approaching, communication between Europe and the US has intensified with regards to setting up a timetable to meet with Iran. The Iranian Nuclear file will be top of the agenda at the forthcoming General Assembly meeting.
A US official informed Asharq Al-Awsat “There is nothing specific yet. There is communication with regards to holding meetings during the [period of the] General Assembly meeting. But there has not been any final agreement on the timing.”
A US official close to the Iranian nuclear file informed Asharq Al-Awsat that “negotiation with Iran will not be quick or easy. The election crisis that has weakened the regime has made it even more difficult to achieve compromise. When it [Iran] is strong, it is not concerned about concessions and compromise, but when it is vulnerable, [reaching] compromise is more difficult.”
Western officials did not rule out looking again at calling for Iran to halt uranium enrichment as a perquisite to any final settlement.
A European official also told Asharq Al-Awsat “If the Iranians propose to continue the enrichment of uranium under full supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] to ensure that the Iranian [nuclear] project is not transformed into a nuclear weapons program, we are open to this.”
In other news, Iranian authorities arrested two top aides of opposition leaders, reformist websites said on Wednesday, amid a new crackdown on groups protesting the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Alireza Beheshti, a senior aide of the main opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, and Morteza Alviri, former Tehran mayor and top aide of the reformist Mehdi Karroubi, were arrested over the past two days, mowjcamp.com reported.
News of their arrests came soon after ILNA news agency reported on Tuesday that authorities had raided the office of Karroubi himself and even arrested the chief editor of the website of his political party, Etemad Melli.
It also came as Iran prepared to hand over an updated package of proposals to resolve the standoff over its controversial nuclear program to Tehran representatives of the major powers.
Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States have given Iran a late September deadline to open talks on the nuclear issue or risk new UN sanctions.