Iran, EU to Hold Nuclear Talks in November

Iran's new top nuclear negotiator will meet with European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana later this month to discuss Tehran's disputed nuclear program, the official news agency IRNA reported Sunday.

Saeed Jalili met with Solana last month in Rome, but the talks planned for late November would be his first unaccompanied by his predecessor, Ali Larijani.

The two officials agreed to the upcoming talks during a telephone call Sunday, IRNA quoted Javad Vaeedi, an Iranian nuclear negotiator, as saying.

The November session could provide an indication of whether Larijani's departure signaled a hardening of Iran's already defiant stance in its nuclear standoff with the West.

Though a conservative, Larijani was considered more moderate than Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad within Iran's hard-line camp and the two had reportedly differed on how to approach nuclear talks.

Both sides described the meeting in October as constructive, but no breakthroughs were made. Iran has continued to defy international demands that it suspend uranium enrichment, a process that can produce nuclear fuel for a reactor or fissile material for a bomb.

The U.S. and many of its allies accuse Iran of using its nuclear program as cover for weapons development. Tehran denies the charges, saying its program is solely focused on generating electricity.

Vaeedi did not provide an exact date for the November meeting or indicate where it would be held. He said deputies from both sides would meet beforehand to prepare for the talks.