Concrete outcome appears elusive in Iran nuclear talks

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

GENEVA - Multilateral talks on Iran’s nuclear programme entered a second and final day in Geneva Tuesday, with diplomats from six world powers yet to meet their goal of charting a way to more substantive talks.

The previous day, Iran and diplomats from the grouping of the US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China resumed talks after more than a year, during which relations had grown more tense.

The group of six, headed by European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, came to Geneva with the low-key aim of building mutual confidence and seeking a framework to solve the nuclear stand-off.

Asked whether the first day had gone some way towards meeting that aim, an EU official said, “I think it is too early to say.”

Iran’s top negotiator Saeid Jalili stressed Monday that whatever the solution, any goodwill on his country’s part would have to be met with a lifting of international sanctions, according to an Iranian source.

The negotiating position of the world powers is based on a previous offer of political, economic and nuclear cooperation, if Iran suspends its controversial uranium enrichment activities.

Many countries are worried that Iran could use its uranium enrichment plants to make fuel for nuclear warheads rather than for power-generating reactors, as Iran claims it is doing.

The delegation from Tehran showed interest in reviving a plan devised in the previous Geneva round, under which Iran would continue uranium enrichment, but export the material as a signal that it would not be used for weapons.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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