Iran resumes nuclear talks with global powers in Geneva

Iran and world powers began talks Monday in more than a year on Monday, hoping the meeting will lead to new negotiations over a nuclear programme.

Iran resumes nuclear talks with global powers in Geneva

Iran and world powers began talks Monday in more than a year on Monday, hoping the meeting will lead to new negotiations over a nuclear programme.

On the eve of the meeting in Geneva, Iran announced what it called a major step forward in its nuclear work.

The six powers -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States -- played down expectations of a major breakthrough during the Dec 6-7 discussions.

Diplomats said an agreement to meet again for more substantial talks, perhaps early next year, would be a sign of progress.

"We hope that the talks and the negotiations that started today continue in a constructive way and reach a positive horizon," Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told reporters during a visit to Athens.

Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and European Union Catherine Ashton on behalf of the six powers broke for lunch after around two-and-a-half hours of talks, but it was not clear if there would be any bilateral meetings such as between Iran and the United States during the break, diplomats said.

Talks will resume in the afternoon and probably on Tuesday.

Western powers want Iran to suspend uranium enrichment activity.

But Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said last week the key topic of enrichment was not on the agenda at Geneva. Ahmadinejad accused the West of double standards.

"You have a thousand A-bombs, (so) how is it that you are worried that Iran might be able to develop atomic bombs in three years' time?" he asked in comments on his website on Monday.

"The United States launched wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but did not use atomic bombs because the era of using nuclear bombs has come to an end," he said.

Last week's killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist in Tehran, which Iran has blamed on Western intelligence services, could cloud the atmosphere for dialogue in Geneva.

"Americans are worse than the most dictatorial dictators," Ahmadinejad said. "They assassinate nuclear scientists because they are not strong enough to counter the Iranian nation, and think a nation will step back with the assassination of its loved ones."

Ali Baqeri, deputy head of Iran's delegation, said the talks would go beyond the nuclear issue and include regional security, Iraq, Afghanistan, drug smuggling and terrorism.

On Sunday, Iran's nuclear energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi said Iran would use domestically produced uranium concentrates, known as yellowcake, for the first time at a key nuclear facility, cutting reliance on imports of the ingredient for nuclear fuel.

The timing of the announcement appeared aimed at showing Tehran's determination to pursue its nuclear plans before talks.


Agencies

Last Mod: 06 Aralık 2010, 15:52
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