World powers meet Iran for nuclear talks

Reuters/HO/Fars News

The world’s major powers and Iran are meeting for the first time in 14 months to discuss long-standing disagreements over Iran’s nuclear ambitions. On the eve of the summit, in Geneva, Iran defied opponents to its nuclear programme by revealing it had produced a small amount of uranium yellowcake.


The negotiations, scheduled to last two days, began Monday morning at the building of the Swiss mission to the Uited Nations.

The European Union's top diplomat, Catherine Ashton, and Iran's chief negotiator, Saeed Jalili, are present, along with officials from Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.

Expectations of any breakthrough are low, with Iran making no indications that it will cease the enrichment of uranium, which could be used to manufacture a bomb.

The mining and milling of uranium ore is not banned in the raft of resolutions the United Nations has approved against Iran in recent years, but the emergence of yellowcake is seen as an example of Iranian intransigence.

Iran may use a diplomatic cable unearthed by WikiLeaks that questions the objectivity of the International Atomic Energy Agency's new chief as an extra incentive not to negotiate on its nuclear programme.

The leaked cables earlier this week portrayed Yukiya Amano as “solidly in the US court” on Iran.

It is expected that a proposal to exchange Iranian low-enriched uranium for nuclear reactor-ready fuel rods will be offered again in the talks, which was the biggest development of the last P5+1 meeting with Iran, in Geneva in October 2009.

The P5+1 refers to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, which includes Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany.

No agenda has been set, and Iranian diplomats have in the past sought to discuss additional issues when given a spot on the international stage.

A spokesperson for the US National Security Council said the P5+1 is hoping Iran will enter into discussions “with the seriousness of purpose required to begin to address international concerns”.

Iranian rhetoric has become belligerent after the assassination of a nuclear scientist and the near death of another.

Iran blamed the attacks on the UN sanctions, which had disclosed the names of the scientists in their resolutions. 

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