Iran studying Solana letter

November 11, 2008

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi announced on Monday that Tehran is “studying” a letter submitted to Iran by European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

Solana sent a letter to Iranian Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) chief and main nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, calling for the resumption of nuclear talks to clear up the last remaining questions about Iran’s nuclear activities. The letter was submitted to the Iranian Embassy in Brussels on Thursday.
Solana insisted in the letter that the 5+1 group is committed to finding a “diplomatic solution” to the nuclear row between Tehran and the West.
Solana represents the 5+1 group (the United States, Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia) in nuclear talks with Iran.
“Of course, we have already announced that we see negotiations with Solana as the representative of the 5+1 group as a proper solution,” Qashqavi said at his weekly press conference.
-----Sharm el-Sheik put last nail in coffin of Annapolis initiative
Qashqavi also said that the Mideast quartet meeting in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt, spelled the failure of the Annapolis peace initiative launched last year by the outgoing Bush administration.
Leaders of the so-called quartet of Middle East peace mediators met in Sharm el-Sheik on Sunday to push forward the peace process meant to resolve the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attended the meeting.
“This meeting was a continuation of Rice’s (efforts during) 19 futile trips to resolve Middle East issues, and in fact placed a final stamp on the failure of the Annapolis initiative,” Qashqavi noted.
He added that Rice, whose mandate as top U.S. diplomat comes to an end on January 20, essentially dumped the problem on the future Obama administration, which itself “signified the failure of peace efforts in the Middle East.”
------- Iran waiting for change in U.S. policy
Qashqavi dismissed comments by U.S. President-elect Barack Obama about Iran’s nuclear program and said Tehran did not expect any major change in U.S. policy.
“We need (to see) a change in the erroneous impressions of the United States,” he told reporters at his weekly press briefing.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent a letter to Obama last week congratulating him on his election victory.
Qashqavi said the letter showed the “principled position of Iran and the great potential of Iranian diplomacy in the words of the highest-ranking executive branch official of the country.”
Just as Ahmadinejad wrote in the letter, Iran says it is ready to help make major reforms if there is a strong will to make a “change” to reform the unjust global system on the part of the new U.S. administration, Qashqavi stated.
However, it is too early to make judgments about the changes that Obama has promised, he said.
“Can the gentleman (Obama) bring about change or not? Let us wait and see,” he added.
Asked whether he believed Obama would hold talks with the current Iranian government or would prefer to wait for Iran’s 2009 presidential election, Qashqavi replied, “We shouldn’t expect fundamental, revolutionary changes in U.S. policy… This is equally true when it comes to the Islamic Republic of Iran.