Negotiators for six major governments conferred on how to haggle with Iran over atomic assets of potential use to build nuclear bombs, Reuters reports.
The five permanent U.N. Security Council member nations and Germany discussed the matter at a high-level gathering on Wednesday in Brussels, Belgium, less than two weeks before they are expected to join Iran to begin formulating the core components of a possible long-term atomic settlement. The six powers are seeking to rein in efforts that could enable the Persian Gulf power to construct nuclear arms, though Tehran maintains its atomic activities are solely peaceful.
Participants offered no specifics on the latest meeting of envoys from China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
A spokeswoman for European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, though, said the session was "useful." Ashton has communicated with Tehran on behalf of the "P-5+1" powers.
An envoy tied to the six nations cited a "need to elaborate our positions" for the negotiations, which are set to resume with Iran on May 13 in Vienna. Several significant differences remain between Tehran and the other negotiating governments, though the sides recently appeared to achieve traction in a dispute over an unfinished Iranian heavy-water reactor capable of generating bomb-usable plutonium.
Speaking anonymously, one diplomat suggested a disagreement over Iran's uranium-enrichment capacity would remain unresolved until "July 19 in the evening," when an interim atomic deal reached in November is set to expire.
Iran is currently using roughly 10,000 centrifuges to refine uranium, a process capable of generating peaceful material as well as nuclear-bomb fuel. The United States and its allies would likely seek to reduce Tehran's quantity of the machines to no more than a few thousand, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, Iranian media said Tehran has received all $4.2 billion in seized revenue it was promised under the six-month interim pact, the London Guardian reported on Thursday.
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.