A senior Iranian diplomat on Tuesday said technical specialists from his country would speak with counterparts from six governments after Tehran confers separately with a U.N. agency on potentially clearing the way for a stalled nuclear probe, ITAR-Tass reported.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said either Vienna or Geneva would likely host the expert-level talks, where Iran would confer with the five permanent U.N. Security Council member nations and Germany over details for a possible plan to defuse international tensions over Tehran's nuclear program.
The meeting's precise timing remains undecided, Araqchi said on Monday in comments reported by state-run Press TV. However, a senior U.S. official recently told reporters the expert meeting would take place before Nov. 7, when diplomats from Iran and the so-called "P-5+1" nations are slated to begin two days of political discussions on the dispute. The latter gathering would follow up on a Oct. 16-17 multilateral meeting in Geneva.
Iran insists its atomic effort is peaceful, but Western powers believe it is geared toward development of a nuclear-bomb capability.
Araqchi said the expert-level talks would take place after Iranian diplomats meet with counterparts from the International Atomic Energy Agency, which wants to investigate signs that the Middle Eastern nation once may have engaged in scientific activities relevant to atomic-arms development. The IAEA meeting is scheduled for Oct. 28-29, Iran's Fars News Agency quoted the Iranian diplomat as saying on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a top Iranian nuclear official said his nation plans in three months to begin producing uranium oxide fuel for use in its Bushehr nuclear power plant, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported. To date, the atomic facility has operated with fuel provided by Russia.
This article was published in Global Security Newswire, which is produced independently by National Journal Group under contract with the Nuclear Threat Initiative. NTI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group working to reduce global threats from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.