All Sides Deem Iran Nuclear Talks ‘Useful’

Global Security Newswire Staff
May 8, 2014, 8:13 a.m.

Ex­pert-level talks this week in New York about Ir­an’s nuc­le­ar pro­gram were de­scribed as “use­ful” by par­ti­cipants, but obstacles re­main, Re­u­ters re­ports.

Rep­res­ent­at­ives from Ir­an, the United States, France, China, Bri­tain, Rus­sia and Ger­many met on Tues­day and Wed­nes­day to pre­pare for a min­is­teri­al-level meet­ing slated for next week in Vi­enna. The up­com­ing gath­er­ing is an­ti­cip­ated as a ma­jor step to­ward a long-term agree­ment with Tehran, with Rus­sia sug­gest­ing parties could be­gin pro­du­cing a pact text.

A European Uni­on spokes­man used the word “use­ful” in char­ac­ter­iz­ing the pre­lim­in­ary talks this week, as did Ir­a­ni­an nuc­le­ar ne­go­ti­at­or Ham­id Baeed­ine­jad, who Re­u­ters said was quoted by Ir­an’s of­fi­cial IRNA news agency.

An un­named West­ern dip­lo­mat said par­ti­cipants had made head­way to­ward resolv­ing a dis­pute over Ir­an’s Arak re­act­or. Un­less mod­i­fied, the planned plant might gen­er­ate siz­able amounts of plutoni­um, which could be used in nuc­le­ar weapons.

West­ern of­fi­cials have long ac­cused Ir­an of pur­su­ing an atom­ic-arms cap­ab­il­ity, though Tehran has denied this. The long-term deal cur­rently be­ing ne­go­ti­ated would force the Middle East­ern na­tion to al­ter its pro­gram in re­turn for re­lief from in­ter­na­tion­al sanc­tions.

The un­named West­ern dip­lo­mat told Re­u­ters one of the re­main­ing obstacles is se­cur­ing an agree­ment about Tehran’s urani­um en­rich­ment activ­it­ies, which have po­ten­tial ap­plic­a­tions for mil­it­ary as well as ci­vil­ian use.