Iran-EU talks expected in next few days, Iran says

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TEHRAN, Nov 21 (Reuters) An Iranian nuclear negotiator expects to hold talks with a senior European Union official in the next few days after a meeting planned for this week was cancelled, an Iranian news agency reported today.

Deputy nuclear negotiator Javad Vaeedi and his EU counterpart had been due to meet today in Vienna for talks ahead of a possible meeting between EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and chief Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.

But EU officials said on Monday Iran had cancelled the talks because Vaeedi had reported sick.

Solana is due to report on Iran's readiness or otherwise to suspend uranium enrichment and enter into negotiations on its nuclear programme before major powers take a decision on whether to impose further sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Vaeedi did not say why Wednesday's meeting had been postponed, in comments carried by the Fars News Agency.

''This meeting will take place in the next few days. We are trying to organise the date and the place of negotiations,'' Vaeedi said.

The secretariat of Iran's Supreme National Security Council said in a statement the meeting was expected to take place next week, ISNA news agency said.

The West believes Iran's nuclear programme is a cover for making an atomic bomb, which Tehran denies. Enriched uranium can be used as fuel for power plants but also, if refined further, provide material for bombs.

REUTERS SG SSC1333

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