Solana, Larijani may meet in next week or so -Rice

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SHANNON, Ireland, Oct 12 (Reuters) The European Union's foreign policy chief may meet Iran's senior nuclear negotiator in the next week or so to discuss Tehran's atomic programme, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said.

The EU's Javier Solana intends to meet Ali Larijani to try to persuade Iran to suspend uranium enrichment and other activities that can produce fuel for nuclear weapons.

''I think they are going to try to meet in the next week or so,'' Rice told reporters yesterday as she flew to Moscow for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and other top officials.

The United States suspects Iran is pursuing atomic weapons under the cover of its civil nuclear programme. Iran denies this, saying its programme is to generate power so it can export more oil and gas.

The UN Security Council has passed two sanctions resolutions against Iran for failing to halt uranium enrichment and its five permanent members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- and Germany are debating a third.

However, major powers have agreed to delay further UN sanctions until November to see whether Iran's agreement with UN nuclear inspectors to try to clear up questions about its atomic programme yields results and to await a report by Solana.

Rice appeared sceptical Iran would give the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) all the information it wants.

''There is an Iranian history of obfuscation and indeed lying to the IAEA. There is a history of Iran not answering important questions about what is going on,'' she said.

Reuters DKS VP0430

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