Iran's nuclear ex-negotiator says no policy change

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TEHRAN, Oct 23 (Reuters) A change in Iran's chief nuclear negotiator does not mean Tehran's atomic policy will change, former negotiator Ali Larijani said today in Rome before talks seeking to defuse a row with the West.

His successor as secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, also said the nuclear issue ''is a subject on which there is a consensus in our country''.

''Everybody ... agrees with the trend (of Iran's nuclear issue) that has taken place so far,'' Jalili said in comments reported by Iran's official news agency IRNA.

Political analysts have said the appointment of Jalili, an ally of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who has vowed Iran will not retreat from its nuclear plans, may signal a hardening of Iran's position in the nuclear dispute.

Quoted on the Web site of Iran's state broadcaster, Larijani dismissed reports of a change.

''Iran's nuclear policies are stable and they don't change with a change in the secretary of the council or even presidents,'' he was reported as saying.

The talks in Rome with European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana will be the first since Jalili's appointment.

Iran's refusal to halt work that can be used to make fuel for power plants or, if it wants, material for warheads, has prompted the UN Security Council to impose two sets of sanctions. World powers are considering a third set.

REUTERS GL PM2142

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