The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the UN's nuclear watchdog could help revive negotiations with Iran to ensure its atomic program is not used to develop weapons, the EU's foreign policy representative said Monday.
"I hope still that there is the possibility of a political solution," Javier Solana told reporters. "The fact that the Nobel Prize has been awarded to the agency and its director general Mr. [Muhammad] ElBaradei is ... no doubt an impulse to continue working in that direction."
Solana said he was hopeful a formula could be found that would allow the resumption of talks between Iran and the Europeans that were broken off in August after Iran resumed uranium reprocessing activities.
"We want the negotiations to resume," he said.
Tehran had suspended uranium conversion work under a November 2004 deal with the Europeans.
Uranium enrichment does not violate the terms of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, to which Iran is a signatory. But the United States accuses Iran of seeking to build nuclear weapons - a charge Iran denies.
ElBaradei's International Atomic Energy Agency has called on Iran to cease its uranium enrichment activities until such accusations have been conclusively refuted.
The IAEA and its director were awarded the prize just days after the agency approved a resolution that left Iran just one step short of being brought before the UN Security Council.
Solana gave a cautious reaction to talks that South Africa is offering to help find a solution to end the standoff and restart negotiations. "We'll have to see what the proposal is and analyze it," he said.